13.03 Hearing and Order on Application to Assume Jurisdiction

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The court shall set the petition for hearing and may issue an order to show cause, directing the attorney or his or her personal representative, or if none exists, the person having custody of the attorney’s files, to show cause why the court should not assume jurisdiction of the attorney’s law practice. If the court finds that one or more of the events stated in Rule 13.02 has occurred and that the supervision of the court is required, the court shall assume jurisdiction and appoint one or more attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas to take such actions as set out in the written order of the court including, but not limited to, one or more of the following:

A. Examine the client matters, including files and records of the attorney’s practice, and obtain information about any matters that may require attention.

B. Notify persons and entities that appear to be clients of the attorney of the assumption of the law practice, and suggest that they obtain other legal counsel.

C. Apply for extension of time before any court or any administrative body pending the client’s employment of other legal counsel.

D. With the prior consent of the client, file such motions and pleadings on behalf of the client as are required to prevent prejudice to the client’s rights.

E. Give appropriate notice to persons or entities that may be affected other than the client.

F. Arrange for surrender or delivery to the client of the client’s papers, files, or other property.

The custodian shall observe the attorney-client relationship and privilege as if the custodian were the attorney of the client and may make only such disclosures as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this part. Except for intentional misconduct or gross negligence, no person acting under this part may incur any liability by reason of the institution or maintenance of a proceeding under this Part XIII. No bond or other security is required.

Comment: Chapter 456, Estates Code, authorizes the personal representative of a deceased attorney to designate an attorney—including him- or herself, if the personal representative is an attorney—to disburse and close the deceased attorney’s trust or escrow accounts for client funds. See TEX. EST. CODE § 456.002. Before appointing an attorney to wind up a deceased attorney’s practice under this rule, the court should determine whether the deceased attorney’s personal representative has designated an attorney under Chapter 456 to close the deceased attorney’s trust and escrow accounts.

 

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