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Showing 2 posts in Firm Breakup.

At Year-End, Unfinished Business is Still Unfinished Business

As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 is now upon us, it has been a tumultuous year for large law firms that took on lateral partners from other big law firms that recently failed, such as Thelen, Howrey, Coudert Brothers, Heller Ehrman, and Dewey & LeBoeuf. Until this year, bankruptcy trustees had been riding high by asserting unfinished business claims against firms where these partners used to practice. Their prime theory is based on a California appellate court case from the 1980s, Jewel v. Boxer, which involved the dissolution of a four-lawyer firm and its book of contingent fee cases.  More ›

Voluntary Withdrawal Without a Specific fee Agreement can be Costly

In Winston v. Guelzow, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals considered how attorneys should share contingency fees after the termination of their joint law practice. Winston and Guelzow shared a personal injury practice for a few years. Guelzow decided to end the joint practice, and Winston agreed.

Winston sent to the 13 remaining clients a letter informing them of their options in representation, and recommending that the clients remain with Guelzow. The clients all followed the recommendation. Although there was a verbal agreement on fee sharing during the firm's operation, Winston and Guelzow had no contract for dividing the contingency fees after the separation. When the firm separated and the cases resolved, Guelzow reimbursed Winston for the costs he advanced. Winston sued, seeking a share of the contingency fees from the 13 clients. More ›