The pace at which lawyers are moving among law firms has increased in the last decade. This trend reflects the changing structure of law practice, general economic volatility, demand from clients for more specialization and lower costs, and the spread of technology. Every time a lawyer changes law firm affiliation, a range of urgent ethical issues arise for the lawyer, his or her old firm and the firm he or she hopes to join. Among the many questions are whether and when communications with clients are proper, ownership and transfers of files, law firm names, and conflict checks. This program will provide lawyers with a practical framework of ethical issues that arise when they change law firm affiliation.
- Ethical issues when lawyers change law firm affiliation
- Propriety and timing of communications with the departing lawyer’s clients
- Ownership and transfer of client files among law firms
- Diligence for the new firm before offering a position to a prospective partner or associate – conflicts, confidentiality, and screening
- Issues when a solo practitioner joins a multi-lawyer firm
- Malpractice coverage issues
David Hricik is a Professor of Law at the Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia, where his teaching and writing focuses on lawyer ethics, litigation, technology and intellectual property. Professor is chair of the Professionalism & Ethics Committee of the American Intellectual Law Association, former chair of the ABA Committee on Professional Responsibility of the Intellectual Property Section, and served as a member of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee. He also served as ex officio editor of “Information Security for Lawyers and Law Firms,” published by the ABA in 2006. Professor Hricik received his B.A. from the University of Arizona and his J.D. from Northwestern Law School.
Thomas E. Spahn is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a broad complex commercial, business and securities litigation practice. He also has a substantial practice advising businesses on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections. For more than 20 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation. Mr. Spahn has served as member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.