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Category Archives: Law firm break-ups

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Client choice, communication are “paramount” when firm dissolves, says D.C. ethics opinion

Posted in Law firm break-ups
Dissolving a law firm is a process, not an event, the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee said in a new opinion released earlier this month, and some ethical obligations continue even after dissolution.  “The paramount” principle, said the committee, is to “continue to competently, zealously and diligently represent and communicate with the clients during the… Continue Reading

Digital dilemma: Who owns litigation database when partners leave a firm?

Posted in Law firm break-ups, Law Practice Management
A high-profile duel over rights to a legal database is playing out in state court in Boston. The warring parties are six former partners and the asbestos defense firm they left, allegedly taking with them high-value file management and other databases. The case, filed in November, raises the question: When partners leave, does a database that includes client information belong to the clients they take with them? Or to the old firm, which says it has invested heavily in developing the proprietary database?… Continue Reading

4th Circuit to decide whether forfeiture clause in partnership agreement violates D.C. ethics rules

Posted in Law firm break-ups, Law Practice Management
The opening brief has been filed in a Fourth Circuit appeal that’s sure to be closely watched by the 100,000 members of the D.C. bar, as well as others. A key issue in Moskowitz v. Jacobson Holman PLLC is whether a law firm partnership agreement can reduce a partner’s equity payout if the partner walks out the door with clients. The district court said that the provision violates ethics rules, and is therefore unenforceable as against public policy.… Continue Reading

Leaving your firm? Virginia rule requires an even playing field

Posted in Law firm break-ups, Law Practice Management
Lawyers who leave a firm for greener pastures can present challenges, with the lawyer and the former firm each trying to position itself to take or keep clients. While several states have ethics opinions with guidelines on managing the process,  Virginia has now become the second jurisdiction in the country to add such guidelines to… Continue Reading

“Unfinished business” doctrine falls in N.Y. — no Jewel claims

Posted in Law firm break-ups, Law Practice Management
A new and perhaps final chapter has been written in the long-running saga of the 2008 collapse of the Thelen firm.   The New York Court of Appeals has held that when lawyers exit defunct firms for greener pastures, the trustee of the old firm may not “claw back” profits earned on hourly-fee cases that those lawyers take with… Continue Reading
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