In a variety of circumstances a general counsel has to decide whether to stick with a particular partner who leaves a firm or to keep matters with the abandoned firm. The cause of the rupture might be a merger (of the law firm or of the company), internal changes within the law firm such as decline of a practice group or loss of clout by the partner, collapse of a firm; conflicts of interest, or most commonly the resignation of a partner to join another law firm. Do you move your matters along with the departing partner or do you stay with the prior firm?
This blog has accumulated a substantial body of posts on the topic. Several metaposts address the decision directly (See my post of Nov. 29, 2010: move work when partner moves with 6 references; Aug. 4, 2008: loyalty to law firms with 6 references; and Sept. 12, 2008: transfer matters to new counsel with 8 references.).
Sometimes, what may appear to be a client dumping (firing) a firm may result from the defection of one or more key partners (See my post of Feb. 19, 2007: fire law firms with 8 references and my article.).
Law firms combat departures of partners who take clients. To lessen the risk from a partner’s loss, firms promote cross selling (See my post of Feb. 20, 2009: cross-selling by law firm partners with 7 references.). They make much of their accumulated institutional knowledge (See my post of Sept. 12, 2010: law firms and their institutional knowledge with 6 references and 3 metaposts.). Law firms trumpet “partnering” – the total firm is behind you, not just what’s his name who just left (See my post of Aug. 27, 2008: partnering between law firms and law departments with 14 references.).