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An Added Casualty of Changing Law Firms

We're all familiar enough with the problems stirred up by lawyers moving from one firm to another:  newly created conflicts of interest, disputes about who gets to keep the fees from work originated by the lawyer at one firm and continued at the next, and claims that one firm attempted to poach the other's partners. But here's a new hazard: malpractice claims caused by a lawyer's inattention to a filing deadline due to his preoccupation with changing firms.

According to the New York Law Journal, businessman Joseph Shelley has sued litigator Robert Bodian, now managing partner at the New York branch of Mintz Levin, for malpractice, alleging that Bodian missed the statute of limitations for filing a suit on Shelley's behalf because he was too preoccupied with moving between firms. During the time that Bodian began representing Shelley, he transitioned from his own firm to another before landing at Mintz Levin.

While I can't speak to the facts in Bodian's case (and sources quoted say that Bodian enjoys an excellent reputation), the notion that a lawyer might ignore case files when moving to a new firm doesn't surprise me.  After all, it's easy enough to get so caught up in the excitement of making a fresh start that a lawyer loses interest in old business. The bottom line is that, as professionals, we need to remember that we have an obligation to get the job done for clients, no matter which job we're at.

[H/T to Legal Malpractice Blog]

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 11, 2008 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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