Legal counselors who are looking to leave their practice will know that they must think about what information they can reveal, how much preparation they can do before they declare their decision, and how lawyers moving to different law firms can maintain confidentiality and non-competence during, during, and afterwards. A list of must-haves and not-haves for associates looking to change law firms will help.
We have created a list with seven things a lawyer should do when changing law firms.
What are the benefits of changing law firms?
1. Request an Official Job Confirmation letter
Associate should be given written confirmation of the work offer. This is important from both a financial and personal standpoint. Many law firms will make informal offers during a recession that they withdraw later due to financial reasons. To eliminate the possibility that an associate leaves one company only to find out later, it is important to obtain written confirmation from the request for employment.
2. You can resign officially
Second, associates must formally resign their current jobs in writing with a date in mind. Most cases of separation are amicable and will result in a smooth transfer from the old firm to the new. However, it is possible to leave smaller companies if the workload is difficult to absorb.
It is important to confirm the effective date of your resignation in writing. It is important to be clear about when your current employment ends and when the new position begins. Even if the former business requires that an associate who has resigned immediately, they should still confirm in writing the effective date of their resignation.
3. Confirm the insurance policy
Associate should ensure that they are properly covered under the firm’s new legal malpractice insurance policy. Most often, all you need to do is speak with the broker of the firm and check the policy or get confirmation from the insurance company. Many firms will ensure that claims are filed after an associate joins a new firm. Associate should therefore double-check everything rather than leave it up to chance.
If in doubt, you can get tail coverage from the old company’s Malpractice Insurance provider. Associate must ensure that they are covered for any claims arising from their previous workplace. Firms should confirm this information in writing. If you are thinking of switching law firms, please check this link.
4. Tell Your Clients Correctly
Fourth, colleagues should ensure that clients are informed promptly and accurately about the changes. Attorney-client relationships can last a long time, because they are so intimate. It is important that clients are notified in writing if the attorney-client relationship ends due to an associate leaving the firm.
Most cases will see the associate and former law firm agree to send a letter to clients advising them of their departure. It is likely, however, that there will not be such an agreement in the case of a smaller company.
If the client is not notified, the associate will notify them. If the client is informed by the previous firm of the associate’s departure, there is no need to do anything else. The associate can still make a similar notification, even though the notification from the previous firm does not limit them.
Client notices should be clear and concise when you send them. The notice should explain the reason the associate left the firm to join a different firm. To let clients know how to reach you, you can add updated contact information.
The associate should inform the client that the associate is no longer representing them. Any correspondence should be sent to the former company. The associate should inform clients that they can continue to work with the associate and to terminate their previous contract. You must also ensure that your former firm is not subject to a non-competence agreement.
Do Not Change Law Firms
5. Do not forget to review agreements
Once you have decided to quit your job, you need to find your previous agreements and carefully review any shareholder, partnership, or employment contracts. You should look for terms that require you do certain activities to complete your departure.
These clauses include minimum notice periods, shareholder buyout procedures, forfeiture non-vested retirement assets and other financial implications. For similar regulations and penalties, if you don’t have an employment contract written, check your employee handbooks. Once you have it, you can use this information in your departure planning process.
6. Do not ignore legal obligations
You must follow specific legal and ethical requirements when planning and carrying out an employment termination. These include the obligation to consider the business interests of your employer and your colleagues. These requirements are found in practice and ethics regulations, contract laws, and general business laws.
As an employee or member of your company, you cannot use your position to your advantage at the expense the company. You should not use your position to your advantage, compromise your work for the company or clients, or interfere with your firm’s economic gains or contracts with vested interest.
7. Do not rush anything
Consider how and when to inform your colleagues about your plans. Also, consider the implications for clients and planning for your new job. You want to have a pleasant conversation. This is important for your comfort and to reduce the possibility of any problems. You must ensure that your employment transition does not cause any harm to clients who have been with you for a while. This will protect you from legal malpractice and business tort lawsuits.
This list of must-haves and no-must-haves should help you make your transition smoother. We have already said that it is important to plan and not rush your transition.