June 07, 2019 Articles

Ethical Considerations Before Switching Firms

Lawyers who switch firms need to put their clients first.

By Chris Weber

I am fortunate to have worked at Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter my entire 27-year legal career, now serving as managing director of the same firm for which I clerked during law school. However, many attorneys will not have the same experience and will, for any of a variety of reasons, move from one law firm to another. In this article, I will consider the important ethical considerations that both the departing lawyer and law firm must consider when lawyers move firms, including notifying clients, deferring to clients’ wishes, protecting client confidentiality while avoiding conflicts of interest, and payment (or repayment) of fees.

The discussion that follows in this article will reference provisions of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct (which are modeled on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct). Readers should consult the rules of professional conduct in their own jurisdiction when considering these issues in their own firm or practice. 

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