Law Firm Risk Management in an Era of Breakups and Lawyer Mobility: Limitations and Opportunities
Robert W. Hillman
University of California, Davis - School of Law
January 3, 2011
Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 449, 2011
UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 256
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: law firms, partnership agreements, law firm partnership agreements, law firm intellectual property, risk management, law firm risk management
JEL Classification: J62, K12, K29, K31, K40, L20, M51, M52
Date posted: March 6, 2011 ; Last revised: April 27, 2011
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