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Here it comes again, that dreaded thing: New Year’s resolutions. Yes, just when all of us were ready to turn the page on 2020 and embrace a new year with new possibilities, so far, the turmoil does not seem to have disappeared so quickly. And it likely won’t for a while.  But that does not mean that we should continue to wait to right, or steady, our collective ships. On the law firm front, in…
It has been almost two years since the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Heller Ehrman v. Davis Wright (2018) 4 Cal.5th 467, holding that a dissolved law firm has no property interest in fees generated after dissolution for hourly matters that were in progress when the firm dissolved. And earlier this year, on February 13, 2020, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals essentially made the same finding in Diamond v. Hogan
While it is a good practice for any law firm to periodically assess its exposure to potential partner departures, the pandemic’s impact on law firms has made this task more important than ever. Doing so involves taking a candid look at the firm’s management, operations, strategy, and culture to determine whether any partners or groups at the firm are likely to depart and, if so, what can be done to mitigate the effects of any…
Does your firm have Non-Equity Partners?  Of Counsel, Consulting, or Contract Attorneys? All of the above? What is the nature of their relationship with the firm, and how are they compensated? Are these attorneys paid as employees (W-2), independent contractors (1099), or do they receive a K-1? How are they described on your website and to clients? As law firm managers find themselves adapting to the changing workplace, law firms are increasingly hiring, promoting, and…
As the legal industry continues to adjust to life during a pandemic, things are still changing every day as law firms make economic and other adjustments to their traditional ways of doing business.  And all this change is likely to lead to even more change.  As a result, we will continue to see law firm transitions and transformations abound.  For law firm partners who are starting anew, as well as those who are working to…
As the legal industry continues to adjust to life during a pandemic, some law firm transitions and transformations inevitably will lead to law firm closures and dissolutions. We have seen numerous headlines of law firms, big and small, actively tightening their belts. But if, or when, a law firm considers closing its doors, is dissolution the best option? And will its partners and clients be protected? The end of a law firm marks a critical…
We read the news daily of law firms – big and small – announcing cutbacks, furloughs, layoffs, reductions in salaries, and distribution freezes. Every industry has been feeling the impact of this global pandemic, and the legal industry is no different. As lawyers who inherently crave predictability, it is difficult to conceive of when and how things will return to “normal,” if everything should, or if we are living in the “new normal” now. But…
Although we routinely see headlines about partner and group departures, especially during this time of the year, the ABA’s recent ethic’s opinion on obligations for lawyers changing firms (ABA Formal Opn. 489, December 4, 2019) received much less attention. Law firms should have taken notice, however, because the opinion represents some significant new thinking on law firm notice provisions. Of course, legal ethics opinions are only advisory and for California law firms who…
The new California Rules of Professional Conduct are now in effect and have changed how law firms and lawyers must identify and analyze conflicts when considering lateral hires.  As we have previously reported, the new rules have a tremendous impact on all California attorneys, including for law firms and lawyers navigating attorney departures and law firm transitions.  In this post, which is part of a series, we will examine how certain new conflicts rules, rules…
As most of you likely know by now, on November 1, 2018, the new California Rules of Professional Conduct will go into effect changing the regulation of the practice of law for all California attorneys. The significant changes to the prior rules and the enactment of some entirely new rules will have a tremendous impact on all California attorneys. Here, we will analyze the effect of the new rules on attorney departures and law firm…