The best strategy for law firm risk management and compliance with legal ethics is a proactive, consistent approach. For this reason, most large law firms have full-time, dedicated internal General Counsel, to monitor the firm’s compliance with applicable ethics rules and procedures, to respond to ethical issues as they arise, and to implement best practices in the firm’s policies for risk management.
We bring this General Counsel capacity to your law firm. We counsel and advise our law firm clients on all aspects of legal ethics compliance, including ongoing counsel to address specific issues and to respond quickly when an ethical issue arises. We also provide counsel so our clients can proactively avoid legal ethics issues, to ensure appropriate policies and procedures are in place, and to monitor compliance with those policies and procedures.
As outside General Counsel to California law firms, our practice is designed around the critical functions for law firm risk management:
Emergent Issues and Situations
We provide practical and real-world counsel and advice that law firms can implement to resolve emergent issues and acute situations involving practice management and legal ethics. This includes managing and resolving real-time legal and ethical issues that arise in law practice, including:
- Attorney marketing and advertising;
- Client communications;
- Client confidentiality;
- Client solicitation;
- Competency and impairment issues;
- Conflicts of interest;
- Fee and disclosure agreements;
- Fiduciary duties;
- In-house ethics;
- Lawyer-client relationships;
- Litigation funding;
- Multi-jurisdictional practice;
- Professionalism and civility
- Referrals and fee-sharing;
- Representation ethics;
- Social media ethics;
- Technology ethics;
- Unauthorized practice of law; and
- Virtual practice and outsourcing.
We take a unique approach to tackling legal ethics issues. Our background and exclusive focus on law firms and all aspects of law practice management enables us to understand the complete picture and to consider issues that others do not always identify or consider.
Our General Counsel practice gives your law firm the ability to respond to these critical issues as they arise.
Partner and Attorney Transitions
Our highly experienced team has a deep understanding of the variety of issues law firms face in the wake of departures and transitions. We understand which issues to focus on and how to analyze the issues correctly. We consistently counsel law firms on how to protect clients and their interests — from ethical considerations to departure logistics, to anticipating, interpreting, and resolving partnership obligations — to ensure a successful resolution for the firm.
We provide our clients with in-depth analysis on each issue, approaching these important legal and ethical considerations systematically. This gives the firm confidence to act and frees the firm to focus on its successful and demanding law practice, so the firm’s interests are protected when an attorney or group departs, or when a partner is asked to, or required to, transition out of the firm.
Law Firm Risk Management Best Practices
Firms must have sound policies and procedures in place to address and manage ethical issues like client conflicts, confidentiality, technology, outsourcing, attorney marketing, departures, and fee arrangements, to name a few. To be effective, these policies must also work with the particular law firm culture, governance, and overall business strategy.
We review your firm systems and practices from an independent and practical perspective and analyze them compared to best practices – but also with what really works. We work collaboratively with law firm managers to revise existing policies and to develop or supplement new ones when it makes sense.
We also draft and revise key law firm documents to ensure compliance with current legal and ethical guidelines, including law firm engagement agreements, client disclosure agreements, partnership agreement provisions, common interest agreements, consulting attorney and contractor agreements, partner separation agreements, departure protocols and procedures, client notice letters, and third-party contracts, indemnity agreements, and administrative service agreements.