Law Firm Risk Management in an Era of Breakups and Lawyer Mobility: Limitations and Opportunities

Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 449, 2011

UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 256

22 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2011 Last revised: 27 Apr 2011

Robert W. Hillman

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: January 3, 2011

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Hillman, Robert W., Law Firm Risk Management in an Era of Breakups and Lawyer Mobility: Limitations and Opportunities (January 3, 2011). Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 449, 2011 ; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 256. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1776362

Robert William Hillman (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States
530-752-8020 (Phone)

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