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More on the Ethics of Leaving A Law Firm

by Carolyn Elefant on May 30, 2006 · 3 comments

in Ethics & Malpractice Issues, Leaving A Firm

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As more lawyers depart large firms to strike out on their own, the ethical issues relating to departing attorneys gains more attention.  Here’s another article on the topic, Practicing Ethics:  Switching Jobs, NY Lawyer (5/26/06).   The article focuses on the following three issues:

* When and what can be told to clients? Most lawyers have a long-standing, close professional relationships with their clients. An attorney and his prospective new firm hope these ties translate into decisions to follow the lawyer. What are the lawyer’s duties to the client in this situation, and when can she inform the client she is leaving?

* What can be told to partners and employees, and when can they be told?

* What files are available to clients and what files can be taken to the new firm?

If you’re currently at a firm, thinking of leaving, you ought to find the answers to these questions (many of which are jurisdiction specific) before you hit the road.  It’s hard enough starting a law practice; don’t make it tougher by inviting disciplinary complaints against you by your former employer through actions you take when you leave.

  • BigLaw Associate

    On the question of how not to quit your biglaw job, you might find this blog and newspaper article interesting. Don’t be fooled by the name of the blog: this is actually a blog by a young lawyer who last week left his job at one of Canada’s biggest lawfirms and made the front page of the local media in doing so.
    http://www.hardcore-superstar.blogspot.com/
    http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=e5e20667-8a8f-4451-aa13-d8cc40197459&k=26103

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