Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Guide To Breaking Up

The Virginia State Bar is calling for comments on a new Rule 5.8, dealing with law firm departures.

The new rule would provide

a) Absent a specific agreement otherwise:

(1) Neither a lawyer who is leaving a law firm nor other lawyers in the firm shall unilaterally contact clients of the law firm for purposes of notifying them about the anticipated departure or to solicit representation of the clients unless, after bona fide negotiations, the lawyer and an authorized representative of the law firm have been unable to agree on a joint communication to the clients concerning the lawyer leaving the law firm; and

(2) A lawyer in a dissolving law firm shall not unilaterally contact clients of the law firm unless, after bona fide negotiations, authorized members of the law firm have been unable to agree on a method to provide notice to clients.

(b) When no procedure for contacting clients has been agreed upon:contain false or misleading statements, and shall give notice to the clients that the lawyer is leaving the law firm and provide options to the clients to choose to remain a client of the law firm, to choose representation by the departing lawyer, or to choose representation by other lawyers or law firms; and

(2) Unilateral contact by members of a dissolving law firm shall not contain false or misleading statements, and shall give notice to clients that the firm is being dissolved and provide options to the clients to choose representation by any member of the dissolving law firm, or representation by other lawyers or law firms.

(c) In all instances, notice to the clients shall provide information concerning potential liability for fees for legal services previously rendered, costs expended, and how any deposits for fees or costs will be handled.

(d) In the event that a client of a departing lawyer fails to advise the lawyer and law firm of the client’s intention with regard to who is to provide future legal services, the client shall be deemed to remain a client of the law firm until the client advises otherwise.

(e) In the event that a client of a dissolving law firm fails to advise the lawyers of the client’s intention with regard to who is to provide future legal services, the client shall be deemed to remain a client of the lawyer who primarily provided legal services to the client on behalf of the firm until the client advises otherwise.

(Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2013/12/the-virginia-state-bar-is-calling-for-comments-on-a-new-rule-58-dealing-with-law-firm-departures-the-new-rule-provides-th.html

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