Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Looking at Lateral Movement (New Developments, New Approaches, New Risks)

  • "California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal found that a partner’s status as 50% shareholder of a law firm did not give rise to a conflict of interest which would preclude the firm’s counsel from defending the firm and another partner against the departing partner’s lawsuit.  (See Coldren v. Hart, King & Coldren (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 237.)" [Decision]
  • "The Court also found that under the facts specific to that case, the departing partner did not have standing to bring a motion to disqualify the firm’s counsel based on an alleged conflict of interest. The Court’s analysis in this matter is helpful in guiding not only attorneys who are considering whether there is a conflict with such dual representations, but for law firm’s handling the transition of departing partners and who want to avoid potential conflicts in representing the firm’s interests in such disputes."
And a reader sent a pointer to an excellent (and wonderfully detailed) article on applying new technology to streamlining lateral lawyer movement: "Solutions to Bring Order to Lateral Attorney Vetting" --
  • "While law firms often welcome lateral moves due to the influx of experienced talent and new clients, these moves create challenges and considerations for law firm administrators. Any serious dialogue between a potential lateral attorney candidate and firm involves the candidate sharing sensitive, detailed information regarding their salary, client list, work history and professional relationships."
  • "Any recently hired lateral attorney brings to their new firm a significant volume of digital and physical client material to support past and ongoing work. The potential receiving firm needs to vet the candidate for financial, business strategy, and most importantly potential client conflicts."
  • "A firm courting lateral candidates should aim to demonstrate good practices for protecting sensitive data during this lateral candidate vetting process. As discussions between a candidate and a firm progress, imagine a lateral candidate receiving an e-mail from the firm with a link that brings the attorney into a secure and well-structured online data collection tool or web portal. This interaction can guide a candidate through providing client and matter history as well as documenting influential professional relationships and key financial information."
  • "Steering a candidate towards an electronic information collection portal that sits on top of a workflow product can feed information to the appropriate downstream people and systems during and after a lateral candidate evaluation process."
  • "Financial performance data regarding past and projected billings for a lateral candidate or their clients can be passed along the lateral attorney evaluation workflow to internal financial analysts to evaluate the financial impact this lateral could have on the firm."
  • "A centralized interface that can collect and harbor the pertinent information supplied by a lateral candidate during the vetting and onboarding stage can serve as an efficient way to maintain sensitive information and then feed it out to the necessary groups in the firm for conflict searching, financial analysis, HR onboarding, IT provisioning, tracking waivers or client authorizations, and inventorying the receipt of approved supporting client files."

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