It is not usual for lawyers to discover that they are in need of representation related to their own employment or partnership matters. After all, lawyers are not immune to challenges or difficulties in the workplace or recognizing that problems exist in their partnerships. Whether working in a traditional law firm, as in-house counsel, for government, for non-profits, or in a business role, lawyers sometimes find themselves in the position of being a “client” – someone who needs assistance navigating his or her own employment or partnership.
Reasons for lawyers to seek legal representation
There are various circumstances why lawyers should seek legal advice and representation, including:
- Negotiating lateral moves from one law firm to another
- Law firm lift-outs
- Partnership agreement negotiations
- Partnership expulsion
- Employment agreement negotiations
- Termination of employment
- Compensation and bonus disputes
- Restrictive covenant agreements, including non-compete and non-solicitation agreements
- Discrimination on the basis of gender/sex, age, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, or other protected grounds
- Promotion and glass ceiling disputes
- Mandatory retirement policies for law firm partners
- Sexual harassment and hostile work environment
- Disability accommodation
- Pregnancy, parental, and medical leaves
- Retaliation for whistleblowing activities
- Retaliation for discrimination complaints,
Understanding their rights and obligations and trusting that another seasoned professional can assist and provide counsel are the first steps for lawyers navigating these situations.
Lawyers should seek a law firm experienced in representing lawyers
An employment or partnership matter can be more complicated when the client is an attorney. In addition to considering the law, lawyers must be mindful of their ethical obligations, the professional reputations, and the unique environment of a law firm or legal department.
Outten & Golden is experienced and skilled in representing lawyers in all their partnership and employment matters – whether relating to lawyer partnership and employment agreements, lateral moves and transitions, discrimination or whistleblower claims, promotion or compensation disputes, or other challenging circumstances. Outten & Golden has advised, counseled, and represented hundreds of lawyers, including:
- Representing a General Counsel of a large company whose employment had been terminated, in breach of an employment agreement.
- Advising a Big Law partner on his lateral move to another firm.
- Negotiating the exit of an Am Law 50 partner who was being forced out of his Firm.
- Negotiating a settlement agreement on behalf of in-house counsel who had been fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on securities violations.
- Mediating race and gender discrimination claims on behalf of an associate at a large law firm to a successful conclusion.
- Assisting an attorney in seeking a reasonable accommodation for his disability from his employer.
- Representing a group of female attorneys at a large financial institution with pregnancy and leave discrimination claims, resulting in private settlements for each of them.
- Representing legal counsel for a prominent non-profit in exit negotiations.
- Challenging age discrimination and retaliation in state and federal court behalf of an older law firm partner.
- Negotiating a settlement agreement on behalf of a female, LGBTQ senior lawyer who had been passed over for promotion.
- Assisting a female associate who had been sexually harassed and assaulted by a senior partner in her firm in negotiating successful remediation efforts with the firm.
- Negotiating on behalf of in-house legal counsel who was demoted for raising concerns regarding the misclassification of employees.
Outten & Golden seeks to understand each lawyer’s unique circumstances and objectives, and partners with the lawyer to pursue a path in her best interests – whether advising behind the scenes, negotiating on their behalf, pursuing alternative dispute resolution, or litigating in court or arbitration.
If you are an attorney and need legal advice regarding an employment issue, please contact us online or call our offices in New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. to discuss your situation with an Outten & Golden attorney.