Partners leaving one firm for another is scarcely news. But the NY Times article caught my eye when it mentioned a letter sent from Coudert to Orrick:
The letter raises the possibility of misconduct by the departing lawyers and by Orrick without explicitly accusing either of anything. The letter promises a review of e-mail messages sent by the departing Coudert partners and warns them not to try to woo clients away to Orrick.
I know there are ethical and perhaps legal constraints on soliciting clients from a former firm (no “wooing” even?). But the letter illuminates one point often missing in these “law firm scorned” situations: it is ultimately the client’s decision as to who the lawyer is.
It would be interesting to check back in a year, and see how many of Coudert’s former clients are now at Orrick. Or vice versa.
All the talk about a lawyer’s “book of business” sometimes obscures a simple fact: contained in each book are clients writing checks.
Updates: (1) good follow-up article on law.com–one possible reason for the departures is rather evident; (2) Prof. Larry Ribstein beat me to the punch and makes an excellent point about how the ethical rules may govern this dispute; (3) even more Coudert partners are hitting the “eject” button.