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About the Teleseminar

Law firms break up for many reasons – financial underperformance, inter-personal disputes among partners, loss of clients, and retirements.  Once a rare occurrence, law firm breakups have become commonplace because of the continuing economic pressures on lawyers and law firms. The rising trend in law firms dissolving places renewed focus on the many and substantial ethical issues that the dissolving firm, its departing partners, and the new firms which the lawyers form or join must all address.  The ethics issues include conflicts checks in ongoing representations, client notifications and transfers of files, confidentiality and more.  Perhaps the biggest issue is that of the “unfinished business” doctrine, which may require attorneys in an ongoing representation to share fees with partners from his or her old firm.  This program will provide you with a real-world guide to understanding major ethics issues for law firms and lawyers when law firms break up.

  •   Ethics issues for lawyers and law firms when firms break up
  •  Client notifications, rights to and transfers of files
  •  Clearing conflicts in ongoing representations that move when lawyers move on
  •  Confidentiality issues
  • “Unfinished Business” doctrine – mandatory sharing of fees with partners of an old firm
  •   Special issues depending on whether a firm is a PC, LLC or LLP


About the Speakers

Douglas Richmond is Senior Vice President in the Professional Services Group of AON Risk Services, where he consults with the company’s law firm clients on professional responsibility and liability issues. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Association of Defense Counsel, and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.  Mr. Richmond teaches legal ethics at the Northwestern University Law School and is a regular instructor at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.  Mr. Richmond received his B.S. from Fort Hays State University, his M. Ed. from the University of Nebraska, and his J.D. from the University of Kansas. 

Thomas E. Spahn is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a broad complex commercial, business and securities litigation practice. He also has a substantial practice advising businesses on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections.  For more than 20 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation.  Mr. Spahn has served as member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Mandatory MCLE Credit Hours

This seminar qualifies for 1.0 MCLE Credit Hour, including up to 1.0 LEPR Credit Hour (Tentative)



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