Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Laterals Come, Laterals Go (Sometimes "Behaving Badly")



The ABA BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct weighs in with: "Don’t Waive Protocols for Laterals, Speakers Say" -
  • "Law firms may regret it if they treat a prospective lateral hire with kid gloves just because the lawyer can bring lots of business to the firm and wants a quick decision, according to a March 2 panel discussion at the 16th Annual Legal Malpractice and Risk Management Conference."
  • "A law firm trying to land a star should still adhere to its usual protocols even if it means working overtime to clear conflicts of interest and check out the candidate, speakers said at a session entitled 'Tales From the GC’s Office: What’s Keeping Law Firm General Counsel Busy.'"
  • "An initial question that firms must confront when considering a lateral hire is how far to check back for conflicts of interest. In audience polling on this issue, the largest group of respondents—32 percent—said they look back three years, and another large group of respondents—25 percent—said they check conflicts going back more than six years."
  • "The cost of having conflicts staff work overtime and weekends is minor compared with the consequences of getting disqualified in a matter, Roskoski [deputy general counsel, Latham & Watkins] said."
  • "Meyer [partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson] polled the attendees on whether they conduct background checks on all lateral partners. Nearly a fourth of the respondents—23 percent—said they don’t do background checks on prospective laterals. Giokas [general counsel, Bryan Cave] said she found that surprising and expected that everyone would do background checks.Roskoski agreed. 'Our clients insist on it,' he said." Meyer noted that outside counsel guidelines in a lot of areas require background checks of all personnel, not just lateral partners."
"Texas IP Firm Gets Restraining Order Against Ex-Atty" --
  • "A state judge in Houston on Friday granted a temporary restraining order to an intellectual property law firm that filed suit a day earlier against one of its former attorneys, alleging he had stolen client information and used it to launch his own firm."
  • "Matthews Lawson McCutcheon & Joseph filed its lawsuit against Erik J. Osterrieder on Thursday, alleging that he violated an agreement not to run his own firm while employed at MLMJ, and also that he operated his firm, at least partially, from its office spaces."
  • "The temporary restraining order issued Friday prevents Osterrieder from using or deleting any of MLMJ's information in his possession, and requires he return the information this week. The order further prohibits Osterrieder from contacting any MLMJ clients and requires him to return any information related to those clients this week as well."
  • "According to the petition, the firm alleges that while Osterrieder was employed with the firm, he operated his separate firm from at least February 2016 until February 2017. Firm leaders asked him twice during 2016 if he was operating his own firm, and he denied it, the firm told the court in its petition. It was in February that the firm discovered Osterrieder was transferring its clients to his side firm, in violation of his written agreements with the firm, and in breach of his fiduciary duty to the firm."
  • "Ken Breitbeil, a shareholder in McFall, Breitbeil & Eidman who represents Matthews Lawson, said 189th District Judge Bill Burke of Harris County granted a temporary restraining order on Friday. He said his client is still determining how many client files Osterrieder may have opened for his personal firm while working at Matthews Lawson. 'It's an example of lawyers behaving badly,' Breitbeil said."
More via Texas Lawyer.

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