Thursday, March 3, 2011
Hillman on Law Firm Risk Management in an Era of Breakups and Lawyer Mobility
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
Robert Hillman (UC Davis) has posted "Law Firm Risk Management in an Era of Breakups and Lawyer Mobility: Limitations and Opportunities" on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
To say that law firms and lawyers are restricted by the norm of client choice does not mean they are not without options in structuring their relationships in ways that may affect their positions as opposing parties should litigation or disputes develop because of breakups and lawyer mobility. This article explores risk management opportunities with a particular emphasis on avoiding litigation or, if that is not possible, affecting the outcome of litigation. It discusses the role of the partnership agreement and limitations on law firm partnership agreements, including difficulties of negotiating and amending agreements, centralized management as an agreement substitute, past practices as agreement waivers, and challenges to enforcement of agreements. Particular attention is given to five issues that often are inadequately addressed in law firm partnership agreements; these include intellectual property rights, departure process, partner removals and dequitizations, winding up, and dispute resolution.