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Are Corporate Clients Entitled to Lawyers of Their Choosing?

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a lawyer of their choosing, and ethics codes hold sacred the concept of client choice. But ironically, clients who retain large law firms for representation may encounter some limitations on their ability to choose specific lawyers within the firm that they want to staff their case.

As Rees Morrison describes in this interesting post, corporate law departments have some say over staffing matters.  Morrison describes that a growing number of corporate law departments -- 20 percent, based on a recent survey -- prohibit first- and second-year associates from working on all matters.  And more than half of in-house counsel polled said that they make decisions about using lower-level associates on a case-by-case basis.

Thus far, law firms have, apparently, been willing to honor requests by corporate clients to preclude junior associates from working on certain matters.  But Morrison says that "law firms will blanch" if corporate counsel were to handpick a team to work on its matters.

Should corporate counsel act more aggressively to select individual lawyers within a firm that they want to work on a case?  And how accomodating is your firm to these sorts of requests, assuming that they're made?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on December 20, 2007 at 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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