Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rules for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms

The attached Article, written by Daniel J. Siegel, Esquire, and published in the July/August 2011 edition of the Pennsylvania Lawyer, provides an excellent overview on how a departing attorney must deal with his/her firm and its clients.

Generally, the rules are:

1.  Do not ask your clients to "come with" you until you after you have notified the firm that you are leaving;

2.  The best way to obtain clients consent to "take" their file with you is to send out a notification, preferably penned by you and the firm from which you are departing, wherein a full overview of the situation is provided, and requesting the clients to elect whom they want to have represent them in the future;

3.  It is the clients' choice as to whom will represent them in the future, and firms may not limit the clients' choice via any form of financial pressure.

Remember, if you are thinking of leaving your firm, you have a fiduciary duty to the firm which must remain inviolate until after you have announced your departure (and in fact beyond that as well, although to a far lesser degree).  That means you must be very careful about "laying the groundwork" for your departure until after you have announced your resignation. 

Obviously, the Rules of Ethics also impose strict requirements on your behavior during the transitional time period.

Hope that you found this helpful!  John A. Gallagher, Esquire, Pennsylvania Employment Lawyer.

1 comment:

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