I am a junior lateraling to another firm. Do I HAVE to take a client from my former employer to the new employer? Client signed a retainer with the firm, but I signed on behalf of the firm. It was a cold call to the firm and I am the only one who handled the file. The new firm does not do this work. Current firm does. Overdue on bill. Current firm said they don’t want the client.

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I had this happen. I actually accidentally was copied on an internal email where they were working on a strategy to dump clients they didn’t want on me. I cut that out right away and told them “it’s client’s choice. Everyone gets the same letter and communication regarding my departure. It’s their choice whether they stay or go.”

Check your State’s ethics rules. There should be guidance in the comments about attorneys separating from their firms. Or, consult an attorney who handles ethics matters if you think they are trying to actively dump clients on you.

likehelpful

No, you don't have to take that client if they are behind in A/R. If no one at your old firm wants that client (assuming because of the A/R), and your old partnership is ok with it, unless you are set for trial and can't get off the record, talk to your client, tell them you are moving and cannot take their file, that they are behind on their accounts, and they have two options: pay their account and replenish the retainer for more service with the old firm under a new lawyer (assuming there's a willing one), or if they are unwilling to pay, that there will be no more service and maybe you can send them to a lawyer referral service. Old firm may assert a lien on file materials of they are unpaid. Make sure any limitations are diarized in your old firm's system. Some firms have different policies about transition, make sure you follow yours. I've helped a lot of leaving lawyers. Hope this helps.

likehelpful

Thanks everyone. Really left a salty taste in my mouth.

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