Forming a law partnership can have plenty of good sides – it enables sharing costs and responsibilities, higher flexibility and more initial capital. However, it sometimes happens that the partnership simply does not work out, and it may happen for a variety of reasons. When you decide to dissolve a law firm, there are several steps to be taken in order for the dissolution to be successful, lawful and as painless as possible.
First of all, when you decide to dissolve the firm, you need to have a conversation with your business partner. Talk about the reasons for dissolution, go through all the important aspects of mutual business and discuss who will take the clients and if any of you has the interest in keeping the business name. Be honest, well prepared and leave the emotions behind, because emotional reasoning can negatively affect your decisions and the whole flow of the conversation. Review the operating agreement you and the partner made upon starting the firm, because the provisions stated in the agreement will spare you the unnecessary dispute and help you solve the problems and any uncertainties more easily.
The next step to take is notifying your clients about the dissolution. In case you are not going to practice law any further, this gives them enough time to decide whether they will stay with your former partner or find someone else to represent them. If you plan to start a new firm, you can invite the clients to come with you – if the operating agreement of the partnership allows you to do so.
After talking to your clients, you should notify the fellow legal professionals. This is done for several reasons. Firstly, if you plan to withdraw from law, they will know not to send you any more work. Then, if you plan to start a new firm, the fellow professionals will know where to send you work from now on. And lastly, if you do not want to start a new firm but want to stay in the profession, you can notify the fellow legal professionals that you need connections and guidelines for your further career.
When dissolving a law firm, there are many financial and administrative details to take care of. If you have any debts, make sure to pay them before officially dissolving the firm. Also, pay back all the contributions made by the law partner. Close all the bank accounts, clear the checks, shred the checkbooks and payment cards. After dealing with finance, it is time to deal with administrative details. This involves cancelling malpractice insurance, cancelling the company’s name (or registering it under a different owner) and notifying the authorities of all the changes – no matter if the firm is being closed or it changes the owner.
Lastly, tackle other details such as closing the website and the social media accounts of the firm in case the firm is to be shut down permanently. If not, change the details on the website and social media accounts in order for the future clients and associates to know who to contact from now on.
“Everybody makes mistakes.” You have probably heard this phrase dozens of times, but if you are a lawyer, you are aware of the fact that every mistake you make will affect your client’s lives. Nevertheless, this will not prevent you from doing something wrong from time to time, and when it happens, it is important to know how to react and how to correct the mistake.
First of all, it is important to embrace the fact that really everybody makes mistakes. It is crucial for the success to do your best and make an effort, but do not be too self-critical, because the mistakes are inevitable to happen from time to time. Also, do not be vain, and when you do something wrong, do not have the problem of admitting it.
The moment you realize that something went wrong, the first step is to make sure that you actually made a mistake. Do not panic and do not rush in to notify the client before the situation is completely clear. Go through the documents once again, review them and investigate where something could have gone wrong, because it is possible that the mistake is minor and completely correctable.
After you have investigated and reviewed the documents and you are sure that you made a mistake, it is important to figure out how big it is and how you can correct it. Think it through and make a plan of all the steps you need to take in order to correct the mistake and take the case on back on the right track. When you find the mistake and make the plan, it is time to notify the client.
When it comes to telling the client about the mistake, once you have identified it and made a plan how to correct it, you must not postpone notifying the client. It is your professional responsibility to act in due time and it will also leave you and the client more time to work on the case and correct everything that may have gone wrong. When you decide to notify the client about the mistake, keep in mind that e-mail is not the best option in this case. Rather call your client on the phone and explain the situation, but the best option is to set up a meeting at your office and discuss the matter in person.
When you reach the client, no matter if it is on the phone or you have a meeting in person, start with admitting that you have made a mistake and with an apology. Explain the all the available options to your client and discuss the problem together. Keep in mind that it is not likely to be a pleasant conversation, especially if you made a big mistake, but remain calm and professional.
Mistakes are sometimes easily fixed, while sometimes they can cost you a client. Even though it can be difficult and it is undoubtedly stressful, you need to get over it and go on working. Use your mistakes to learn and draw conclusions from them, because that is the only way to move forward and become better.
Social media have brought plenty of changes into the ways companies interact with their clients and they have certainly facilitated reaching old and new customers, advertising and promoting. However, despite having many advantages and helping companies in many areas, social media also have some bad sides. Using social networks in a wrong way can result in many troubles, some of which can lead companies to having serious problems with law. In this article we will advise you how to properly use social media and avoid putting you company in a risky situation.
The first thing that can lead to an unpleasant situation is sharing any business-related content on social networks. This content can include a variety of information – from personal information about the clients or employees, to various business ideas that are yet to be implemented. Both the company owners and the employees are both obliged to respect confidentiality of such information and they should not share them online, because in case the confidential information get published, the company can face serious consequences. Most companies issue written guidelines for their employees concerning data protection and
privacy. These guidelines should be clearly stated, detailed and contain all the recommendations for the use of social media, as well as the types of content that should not be published.
Then, misleading the customers and falsely advertising is also considered unlawful and the company can even be prosecuted for these actions. False advertising and marketing is regulated by law and it is strictly prohibited,
because it can directly affect the customers and in extreme cases even put them in danger. When it comes to traditional forms of advertising, companies are usually focused on what they promote and how they advertise. However, they should also pay attention what they post on social networks and how they create social media ads, in order to stay consistent, truthful and trustworthy.
Copyright law protects many types of online content as well, and the company’s employees in charge of social media should have this in mind. This means that they should pay attention what they share on the social media pages of the company in terms of the ownership of the content. Copyright owners have full control over their pieces of work. You may use some pieces of work only if you give credit to the author, while in some cases you may need a permission from the copyright owner to publish certain photos, videos, illustrations and other media you want to appear on your company’s page.
Last but not least, defamation is another unlawful activity that may appear on social networks and put your company in dangerous position. Defamation means that your company tries to damage the good reputation of its competition by stating untruthful information about their products or services. Therefore, make sure to beware of making any kind of statement against competition, even if it is in a form of a personal opinion, because your company may be sued for written defamation or libel.