Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Law Firm Lateral Hires and Depatures -- Do's and Don'ts

The Legal Intelligencer Blog published an interesting series: “Do’s and Don’ts for Departing a Law Firm” [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3].

It presents analysis stemming from Joint Formal Opinion 2007-300, “Ethical Obligations When A Lawyer Changes Firms,” case law and personal experience of the author, who has represented both firms and lateral movers in disputes.

He notes that firms responding to departing lawyers should take care to not:
  1. "Prevent the departing lawyer from honoring his ethical obligations to clients or attempt to thwart any ongoing relationship between that lawyer and departing clients."
  2. "Forbid a departing lawyer from announcing his departure, notifying clients or opposing counsel in a litigated matter."
  3. "Instruct firm personnel not to disclose the whereabouts of former lawyers to clients or other callers."
  4. "Withhold files of departing clients as leverage in disputes with departing lawyer over fees or other strictly lawyer-to-lawyer issues."

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