Mike Getz couldn’t believe it when he learned on Oct. 9 that Houston solo William Britton “Britt” Hall was alive, had an active law license and was working as a lawyer in Conroe, Texas.

Getz believed Hall had walked away from his practice in early January and feared Hall may have died. So Getz and other lawyers had called the State Bar of Texas, worried that the clients they’d referred to Hall had been abandoned. Some of those clients suffered default judgments as a result, says Getz, a Beaumont, Texas, solo who was friends with Hall.