The often dreaded client/matter meeting happened yesterday and came off very well. As we went through my case list, we broke down clients by origination, quantum meruit, case cost, hourly or contingency, expected desire of client and other factors. On the big contingency fee cases where the firm had a large quantum meruit and case cost figure already invested, we decided to co-counsel those cases. Payment of money post-settlement or verdict will go something like this. First all advanced costs are paid. If there is not enough money to cover quantum meruit of each firm, we pro-rate the money based on the percentage loss (if there is only enough to cover 80% of the total fees, each firm gets 80% of their quantum meruit). Money in excess of quantum meruit gets paid also on a quantum meruit basis (80% of the time gets 80% of the excess). My current firm will pay all costs on a moving forward basis to protect their investment.
Other cases will be handled on the same quantum meruit basis with one key variable. If the firm continues to pay costs, they share in excess fees. If they don't, they are capped and quantum. Also, all quantum meruit calculations will be adjusted with an 8% reduction in my time since my profit sharing percentage usually ended up in that range. The idea here is that the firm should not benefit from the fact that I am no longer here.
I was asked if I could be listed as 'of counsel' on the firm's letterhead after my departure. This benefits the firm in that it will quell speculation about my departure (and many lawyers have left this firm in the middle of the night with files in hand). I don't believe that it will hurt my marketing of services, although it might impact some potential referrals. Regardless, I owe it to my firm to help out in this regard. The Greatest American Lawyer would certainly do the same.
All in all, 'doing it right' has thus far paid huge dividends. My partners took me to lunch earlier this week and we had some great laughs. I have the flexibility I need to get into my new office space. My salary continues until that happens. I have covered case costs on my largest cases moving forward. I have a great foundation upon which to build.
So many lawyers leave their firms, along with a trail of ill-will. I could easily make an argument of being denied or ripped off in any number of ways from my time here. But I rarely think that way. I speak with my feet. If I choose not to speak, then there is no blame except onto myself. If I do speak by starting my own firm as I have done, then there is nowhere to look except forward. Anything else would simply be a distraction from the more important things that await me (an of course the million tasks required).