Tuesday, February 24, 2015
New D.C. Opinion On Law Firm Departure Penalties
A recent opinion from the District of Columbia Bar Legal Ethics Committee.
Headnote summary of Opinion No. 368:
A law firm may not provide for or impose liquidated damages on a lawyer who, after departure, competes with the firm. A firm and a departing lawyer may have liability to one another, though, for work done before the lawyer's departure. Also, a firm may not restrict a departed lawyer's subsequent professional association or affiliation with partners or employees of the firm, except insofar as such activity is subject to legal limitations outside the Rules of Professional Conduct. Whether a choice of law provision in a partnership or employment agreement can avoid application of the D.C. Rule governing lawyer departures usually will depend on the location where the departing lawyer principally practiced.
The opinion also deals with choice of law issues. (Mike Frisch)