The Art and Ethics of Grabbing & Leaving

What Price Freedom?

Files in the night,
Back up the pickup!
No partners in sight,
This is a stick-up,
Rolling out the door,
With 50 clients, or more!

It’s their right to choose,
And don’t I know it,
No way I can lose,
No way to blow it,
They’ll all come with me,
And that means one big fee!

My plan was safely hatched,
Behind their backs for weeks
The clients I have snatched,
With plans to take with me some key associates, too,
Nobody here knew,
With shear excitement I have shivered,
My practice gift wrapped and delivered.

By daybreak they’ll find,
Their profits tanking,
But my new partners will all be thanking (me)
For my daring flight,
With files in the night!

Files In The Night
(to the tune Strangers In The Night)
(lyrics © 2009 charles f luce jr)

The Art and Ethics of Grabbing & Leaving

One of my first blogs – published about a year before the word “blog” was invented – was titled Law Firm Divorces & Associates Striking Out On Their Own: The Art and Ethics of Client Grabbing, the title a nod to pioneering commentary in this area by Professor Robert Hillman: Law Firms and Their Partners: the Law and Ethics of Grabbing and Leaving, 67 Tex. L. Rev. 1 (1988). In my blog I described the leverage Colo. RPC 5.6(a) gives any lawyer planning to leave a firm with Files in the Night:

[I]t is always under the banner of “the client’s freedom to choose” that the departing/grabbing lawyer departs the old castle, client files in tow, leaving the remaining guard standing upon the surprisingly shaky ground of “sanctity of contract,” and a “partner’s fiduciary duty to fellow partners.”

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