Jekyll counselors but should we Hyde litigators?

Should you have your employment lawyer, who advises clients on how to minimize litigation, also handle employment lawsuits? Should your patent lawyers prosecute in the morning and litigate in the afternoon? How about your environmental lawyers likewise playing offense and defense?

And then the ultimate. Should transaction-oriented business lawyers, generalists who mostly handle contracts and the range of legal issues that arise for a business unit, also handle the litigation that arises for the client?

I think not. Litigation is a specialty and a very expensive one, sometimes played for high stakes. An anti-trust counselor, or indeed any other non-litigation lawyer, may be a very poor manager of litigation. Even worse is a situation where the lawyer’s earlier efforts led to the lawsuit, since they could hardly remain objective.

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