Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

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Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:52 am

I just accepted a position at firm 1, a biglaw firm. I subsequently contact another firm and was offered a position for the last couple of weeks of summer, which I accepted. Are there any ethical issues associated with not informing firm 1 that I will be working for the other firm at the end of the summer?

zomginternets
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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby zomginternets » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:13 am

Are you cutting short your summer at Firm 1? If not, I think you're good (and don't otherwise lie to them about it). Firm 1 doesn't have a monopoly over your time after you're done with their summer program.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:22 am

Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.

zomginternets wrote:Are you cutting short your summer at Firm 1? If not, I think you're good (and don't otherwise lie to them about it). Firm 1 doesn't have a monopoly over your time after you're done with their summer program.


Do your summer program first before doling out advice, OK?

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Renzo » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:37 am

Fresh Prince wrote:Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.



Speaking of dumbest things you can do: how the fuck is firm one going to conflict check an employee's future potential clients at firm two? And the OP says that firm two knows about firm one and will be able to screen him from conflicts. So, what do conflict checks have to do with it?

OP: I can see arguments on both sides. You don't really have any obligation not to take other work, or to tell them if you do. However, you also don't want to come across as someone who is trying to pull one over on the firm, or get away with something.

Personally, I think I would tell the first firm. I feel confident that I could "sell" it by conveying that I really wanted to come back to firm one, but working the extra weeks would help pay tuition, and I told firm 2 that I won't cut short my program here, etc. I would also see more downside in being seen as sneaky than in being seen as less than fully committed to the firm.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:09 am

I'm planning to do the exact same thing. (Who knows, you may be the other person my second firm has hired for the summer--they only hired two.)

However, it was made very clear by my second firm that you have to let the first firm know, even if you're going to be there for the full ten weeks. At least for us, nearly every firm asked has given permission for this in the past. They're not upset about you going somewhere else afterward; for whatever reason, it's true splitting (cutting your summer short) that really bothers them.

The one exception I know of is Cravath, who will not let you take the second firm no matter whether you can fit it into your schedule or not.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:14 am

Fresh Prince wrote:Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.


Firm 1 may not need to know about Firm 2, but Firm 2 definitely needs to shield OP from Firm 1 conflicts or risk sanctions and disqualification. OP could be sanctioned as well. I'd tell them both... Firm 2 is definitely going to make OP fill out a conflict sheet...my firm for next summer already made me fill out for 1L summer...and I worked for a judge on issues that have all been ruled on by now.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:42 am

OP here,

In this case firm 1 definitely knows about firm 2 to run a conflict check. I just didn't particularly want to tell firm 2 about firm 1 if they don't ask. If they do ask, I obviously will not lie about anything.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here,

In this case firm 1 definitely knows about firm 2 to run a conflict check. I just didn't particularly want to tell firm 2 about firm 1 if they don't ask. If they do ask, I obviously will not lie about anything.


This seems to be backwards from what your OP says.

The second firm needs to know whatever you touched at the first. That's how conflicts work. Firm 1 may know they are opposing Firm 2 and not assign you...but that's their choice. But the first firm will not know everyone the second is representing. Maybe Firm 2 is preparing to sue Firm 1. Or Firm 2 is working a merger with a company that they represent...and the merging company is conflicted with Firm 1.

You absolutely must tell the firm second in time whatever you worked on at the first. They could literally be disqualified off a million-dollar deal. It's happened for less. Not to mention you could be sanctioned. This comes up all of the time even when staff members move from firm to firm. Firm 2 is liable not the original firm.

I would still tell them. Either they don't care, or they do and your gambling an offer on them not finding out. I don't know the ethical rules in the state you're going to be able to opine about whether not telling Firm 1 is some kind of violation. However, I feel like it would violate my personal ethics...and probably the people at Firm 1's as well.

Further, you would need to tell Firm 1 if they hired you after school...because they would then need to ethic check Firm 2.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby run26.2 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:07 pm

blowhard wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here,

In this case firm 1 definitely knows about firm 2 to run a conflict check. I just didn't particularly want to tell firm 2 about firm 1 if they don't ask. If they do ask, I obviously will not lie about anything.


This seems to be backwards from what your OP says.

The second firm needs to know whatever you touched at the first. That's how conflicts work. Firm 1 may know they are opposing Firm 2 and not assign you...but that's their choice. But the first firm will not know everyone the second is representing. Maybe Firm 2 is preparing to sue Firm 1. Or Firm 2 is working a merger with a company that they represent...and the merging company is conflicted with Firm 1.

You absolutely must tell the firm second in time whatever you worked on at the first. They could literally be disqualified off a million-dollar deal. It's happened for less. Not to mention you could be sanctioned. This comes up all of the time even when staff members move from firm to firm. Firm 2 is liable not the original firm.

I would still tell them. Either they don't care, or they do and your gambling an offer on them not finding out. I don't know the ethical rules in the state you're going to be able to opine about whether not telling Firm 1 is some kind of violation.

Probably even more important are the conflicts that could arise when OP comes back to Firm 1 for his permanent position. At that point, you will definitely have to disclose what you worked on during your 2L summer. If you don't disclose this, you could end up disqualifying Firm 1 from representation of clients, which could end your career before it began.

Not disclosing Firm 2 to Firm 1 is simply a bad idea. I can't imagine that Firm 1 would be happy to find out about potential conflicts before you arrive to start as a first year. You would be far better off to hear any objectives now.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:08 pm

OP,

Sorry for the confusion, I meant that firm 2 knows, while firm 1 does not. Thus, conflicts shouldn't pose any problem.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby run26.2 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP,

Sorry for the confusion, I meant that firm 2 knows, while firm 1 does not. Thus, conflicts shouldn't pose any problem.

Did you read what was posted above? Conflicts arising from your work at Firm 2 will matter to Firm 1 when you return full-time to Firm 1.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:16 pm

run26.2 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP,

Sorry for the confusion, I meant that firm 2 knows, while firm 1 does not. Thus, conflicts shouldn't pose any problem.

Did you read what was posted above? Conflicts arising from your work at Firm 2 will matter to Firm 1 when you return full-time to Firm 1.


This.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:17 pm

Point taken. Sorry and thank you for the advice.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:31 pm

blowhard wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.


Firm 1 may not need to know about Firm 2, but Firm 2 definitely needs to shield OP from Firm 1 conflicts or risk sanctions and disqualification. OP could be sanctioned as well. I'd tell them both... Firm 2 is definitely going to make OP fill out a conflict sheet...my firm for next summer already made me fill out for 1L summer...and I worked for a judge on issues that have all been ruled on by now.


And this is why Renzo is a moron.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Renzo » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:38 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
blowhard wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.


Firm 1 may not need to know about Firm 2, but Firm 2 definitely needs to shield OP from Firm 1 conflicts or risk sanctions and disqualification. OP could be sanctioned as well. I'd tell them both... Firm 2 is definitely going to make OP fill out a conflict sheet...my firm for next summer already made me fill out for 1L summer...and I worked for a judge on issues that have all been ruled on by now.


And this is why Renzo is a moron.


I took a term-time job at a different firm after the summer, and my summer firm found out when they got a call as part of my background employment check from the second firm. Guess what? Still have a job when I graduate. And I don't see how this is much different than taking a second summer gig after the first.

If they want me not to take other work so as not to develop conflicts, they should pay me. Otherwise, my time is my own and I'll sell it to who I like.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:40 pm

Renzo wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
blowhard wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.


Firm 1 may not need to know about Firm 2, but Firm 2 definitely needs to shield OP from Firm 1 conflicts or risk sanctions and disqualification. OP could be sanctioned as well. I'd tell them both... Firm 2 is definitely going to make OP fill out a conflict sheet...my firm for next summer already made me fill out for 1L summer...and I worked for a judge on issues that have all been ruled on by now.


And this is why Renzo is a moron.


I took a term-time job at a different firm after the summer, and my summer firm found out when they got a call as part of my background employment check from the second firm. Guess what? Still have a job when I graduate. And I don't see how this is much different than taking a second summer gig after the first.

If they want me not to take other work so as not to develop conflicts, they should pay me. Otherwise, my time is my own and I'll sell it to who I like.


Obviously I'm not saying OP should not have taken the job. I'm saying that both firms should know about each other so that OP can be shielded off from certain matters. To start at firm 2 and work on matters that you worked on the opposing side at at firm 1 can have some pretty bad consequences.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby run26.2 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:13 pm

Renzo wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
blowhard wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Absolutely one of the dumbest moves you can do, considering the fact that the firms will have to do a conflicts check.


Firm 1 may not need to know about Firm 2, but Firm 2 definitely needs to shield OP from Firm 1 conflicts or risk sanctions and disqualification. OP could be sanctioned as well. I'd tell them both... Firm 2 is definitely going to make OP fill out a conflict sheet...my firm for next summer already made me fill out for 1L summer...and I worked for a judge on issues that have all been ruled on by now.


And this is why Renzo is a moron.


I took a term-time job at a different firm after the summer, and my summer firm found out when they got a call as part of my background employment check from the second firm. Guess what? Still have a job when I graduate. And I don't see how this is much different than taking a second summer gig after the first.

If they want me not to take other work so as not to develop conflicts, they should pay me. Otherwise, my time is my own and I'll sell it to who I like.

One reason why this could be a bad idea is that a person doesn't want to be screened from matters that that person could or would otherwise have been significantly involved in at said person's permanent place of employment. The more places someone works, the more likely it is that that person is going to represent a client who will have adverse interests to a client at another place where that person later works.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby CandyLand » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:55 pm

What harm would it do to tell Firm 1? It's better to be upfront now then fall into a situation later where you are being actively dishonest or hiding things from Firm 1.

I can tell you that it will be awkward when people from both firms try to add you on LinkedIn and you either only have Firm 1 (and Firm 2 wonders why you aren't claiming it) or you have both (and people from Firm 1 say "Huh? (S)he worked at Firm 2?"). Especially if there are cases going on between them that whoever it is is aware of.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Renzo » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:08 pm

CandyLand wrote:What harm would it do to tell Firm 1? It's better to be upfront now then fall into a situation later where you are being actively dishonest or hiding things from Firm 1.

I can tell you that it will be awkward when people from both firms try to add you on LinkedIn and you either only have Firm 1 (and Firm 2 wonders why you aren't claiming it) or you have both (and people from Firm 1 say "Huh? (S)he worked at Firm 2?"). Especially if there are cases going on between them that whoever it is is aware of.


I agree, if you'll see my first post. But the potential harm is that the first firm knows you're shopping around, and think that you are less than full committed to them; this can way in the decision process if a firm isn't going to extend 100% offers. However, as I said above, and am restating now, I think the risk of being viewed as sneaky is bigger than the risks from disclosing.

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Re: Splitting Without Telling Both Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:The one exception I know of is Cravath, who will not let you take the second firm no matter whether you can fit it into your schedule or not.


This is not true.




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