Partner Departure Law

Handling of Client Files

May 12, 2015

Nelson Levine v. Lewis Brisbois Just Settled: Firm Laptops and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – Lessons from A Recently Resolved Attorney Departure Case

As many attorneys who follow partner departures and lateral moves know, in 2014 a group of attorneys at Nelson Levine De Luca & Hamilton, LLC (“Nelson Levine”) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, left the firm to join Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP (“Lewis Brisbois”), a California limited liability partnership. This departure resulted in litigation that […]

January 12, 2015

Best Practices For Firms In Considering Whether to Provide a Departing Attorney with a Copy of His or Her Entire Mail Folder upon Departure from the Firm

Once a firm is given notice from a departing partner that the partner plans to leave the firm, there are a myriad of issues that need to be resolved prior to, and following, the partner’s actual departure. One important issue relates to the handling of the departing attorney’s email once he or she leaves the […]

September 27, 2013

Law Firms have Ethical Obligations with Respect to the Handling of a Departing Partners Email Communications and Account

According to the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Professional Guidance Committee, ethical rules permit a law firm to review a departing partner’s emails in order to determine what emails should be forwarded to the departing partner and what emails relate to current firm matters of which the law firm should be aware.  (See Philadelphia Bar Association Professional Guidance […]

July 31, 2013

Departing Partners and Client Files Part II: Transferring Client Files in the Digital Era

Not long ago client files consisted only of hard-copy documents in physical file folders and typically contained filed briefs, discovery, transcripts, correspondence and memoranda of law.  While there was a split in authority on whether attorney notes and drafts should be included as part of a client’s file, the California Rules of Professional Conduct states that essentially […]

July 23, 2013

Departing Partners and the Handling of Client Files in California

A substantial body of case law and ethics opinions addressing the handling of client files has developed over the years surrounding the concept that a client’s file is a client’s property.  (Rose v. State Bar (1989) 49 Cal.3d 646.)  This notion is based on the underlying idea that clients may discharge an attorney at any time, […]