Daniel O’Rielly Partner
“We bring a unique combination of experience to the task of solving our clients’ problems – we are counselors and advisors, but we are also litigators – so our counsel to attorneys and law firms is based on a practical perspective of the daily practice of law and law firm management.”
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Daniel O’Rielly, an experienced litigator and trial attorney, advises and counsels California law firms and attorneys on strategic transitions: partner departure law, attorney ethics counsel, and law firm advice and planning. He also handles partnership disputes, litigation, and arbitration.

Partner Departure Law

Mr. O’Rielly represents partners departing a partnership and law firms managing partner departure issues, providing counsel at every stage of the partner departure process.

  • Represents law firms in partner or group departures, regarding enforcing partners’ contractual obligations, enforcing restrictions on client or employee solicitation, and protecting the firm’s client relationships and intellectual property. He also represents law firms in acquiring lateral partners, including identifying and resolving potential conflicts of interest and similar issues.
  • Counsels departing partners on the contractual, legal, and ethical obligations to firm partnerships and to clients, including analyzing financial rights and obligations, attorney ethics rules and requirements, and practical realities of client transition, leading to a partner transition plan that validates partners’ rights and confirms obligations.
  • Represents law firms and individual partners in law firm dissolutions, developing and drafting partnership agreements, setting and documenting law firm compensation systems, and related critical practice management and transition issues.

Legal Ethics Counsel

Mr. O’Rielly represents attorneys, law firms, and legal departments regarding attorney ethics issues, practice management, and compliance.

  • Counsels and advises attorneys and law firms on attorney ethics issues, including conflicts of interest, client confidentiality, attorney marketing, client solicitation, fiduciary duties, fee agreements, lawyer-client relationships, client communications, technology and social media ethics.
  • Serves as an outside General Counsel to law firms, advising on attorney ethics, compliance, and practice management.
  • Leads the Firm’s legal ethics audit team for law firms and legal departments, identifying and implementing best practices, and identifying and resolving potential ethics compliance and practice management issues.
  • Publishes the California Attorney Ethics Counsel blog, reporting on recent developments and providing practical analysis of important attorney ethics issues affecting the daily practice of attorneys, law firms, and legal departments.

Law Firm Advice and Planning

Mr. O’Rielly counsels California law firms and attorneys on a wide variety of strategic business issues and transitions, including:

  • Partnership agreements and firm structure
  • Law firm risk management
  • Law firm compensation systems
  • Law firm start-up planning
  • Law firm succession planning
  • Law firm dissolutions

Partnership Disputes

Mr. O’Rielly negotiates separation agreements between partners and firms, and litigates partnership disputes when agreement is not possible. He has successfully represented partners and law firms in partnership-related disputes including:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Civil conspiracy
  • Tortious interference claims
  • Unfair competition (California Business & Professions Code §17200)
  • Violations of trade secrets
  • Defamation
  • Fraudulent inducement
  • Electronic privacy claims

Publications & Presentations

What Partners Should Expect When Departing their Firm, Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 9, 2018

Clients are Not Law Firm Property, and Neither are Lawyers, Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 29, 2018

Should That Law Partner Stay or Should That Law Partner Go?, Los Angeles Daily Journal, February 28, 2018

Resolution: Dust Off the Partnership Agreement, Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 19, 2018

Law Firm Worst-Case Scenarios for Partner Departures, Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 8, 2017

Worst-Case Scenarios When You Decide to Leave Your Firm, Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 17, 2017

A Checklist for Bringing in Lateral Partners, Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 13, 2017

Fall Cleaning: Reviewing Partnership Agreements, Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 25, 2017

Partner Departure Law: It’s Not Enough to React, You Must Plan, Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 30, 2017

The Importance of Attorney Succession Planning, presented to the Professional Advisors Roundtable, The Community Foundation of Mendocino County, May 9, 2017.

Client Confidences and the Attorney-Client Privilege, presented to the Professional Advisors Roundtable, The Community Foundation of Mendocino County, May 9, 2017.

Leaving Your Law Firm: Who Can You Tell, and When? Attorney at Work, April 18, 2017.

Protect Your Firm from Partner Departures, Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 7, 2017.
Triggered: A Guide to the Causes of Partner Departures, Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 3, 2017

Departing Your Law Firm Partnership: First Steps, Attorney at Work, January 31, 2017

Partner Departures: Realistic Expectations for Partners and Firms, Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 20, 2017

Partner Departures Aren’t Always Voluntary, Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 16, 2016

Partner Departures: Starting Questions for Departure Planning, Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 18, 2016

Proceed Carefully When Partner Exits Suddenly, Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 21, 2016

Prepare for Departures Long Before the Day, Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 23, 2016

The Benefits of Leaving Your Firm the Right Way, Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 12, 2016

Partner Departure Law: Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run, Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 8, 2016

Why and When Partners Leave a Law Firm, Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 9, 2016

Thinking of Leaving Your Firm? Plan Ahead, Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 6, 2016

Do You ‘Notice’ When Partners Exit? Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 8, 2016

Partner Departures, Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 14, 2016

5 Things to Consider When it is Time to Leave Your Firm, Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 8, 2016