Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Can my current firm refuse to sign a conflict waiver to prevent me from leaving?

Hi, I am making a leap from Wilson Elser to a smaller firm ( murarabbit03/10/17
I believe the client, not the firm, has to sign off on a wai retard03/10/17
Also associate turnover is built into Wilson Elser's model. retard03/10/17
Why can't your new firm just screen you from anything involv guyingorillasuit03/10/17
Thank you guys for the insight! I'm in NY. I know Wilson tur murarabbit03/10/17
New firm is putting you in a pretty tough spot. You have no e36m303/10/17
It's somewhat amusing that they would want to keep you becau 3lol03/10/17
It's because (at least from what I've heard) they have a big flharfh03/10/17
Your employer is under no obligation to sign anything. I rastaman03/10/17
Rastaman is correct. In a word, the answer to your question wolfman03/10/17
Thanks. I think you are right. I will re-negotiate with the murarabbit03/10/17
Yeah I heard nightmare stories about Wilson Elser. Low pay, greenhorn03/10/17
I can't imagine Wilson Elser purposefully preventing their c attorneyinct03/11/17
No one can flat out prevent you from leaving a job. This is parlance03/12/17
I would;t work at WE for all the tea in China. bostonlawyer.203/12/17
What about all the cocaine in Columbia? attorneyinct03/13/17
Is there a lot of cocaine in South Carolina? napoleone03/19/17
Hey OP - what happened? We needs some updatesssss. attorneyinct03/15/17
murarabbit (Mar 10, 2017 - 6:03 pm)

Hi, I am making a leap from Wilson Elser to a smaller firm (30 lawyer). I wouldn't say that they are competitors but they are in the same field - insurance defense. There is one case that I handled (I'm an associate) for my partner where the new firm is also involved as a co-defendant, and the new firm made me an offer contingent on Wilson Elser signing off on a conflict waiver. I am in good relations with my bosses at Wilson, but you never know with a firm like that. I was wondering, is there any recourse for me, if Wilson refuse to sign a conflict waiver?

Much thanks,
Murarabbit

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retard (Mar 10, 2017 - 6:09 pm)

I believe the client, not the firm, has to sign off on a waiver. That being said the firm can refuse to approach the client.

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retard (Mar 10, 2017 - 6:10 pm)

Also associate turnover is built into Wilson Elser's model.

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guyingorillasuit (Mar 10, 2017 - 6:10 pm)

Why can't your new firm just screen you from anything involving that particular litigation, and have you work on other cases? This is what is known as a "Chinese Wall", and some jurisdictions allow this, as far as I know.

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murarabbit (Mar 10, 2017 - 6:36 pm)

Thank you guys for the insight! I'm in NY. I know Wilson turns over a lot of associates and from what I have been hearing it's hard for them to find attorneys to fill positions here which is why I fear that they will try to keep me from leaving. My new firm has already stated that they will wall me in. However, they wanted to be extra sure and made my offer contingent on the waiver of conflict, and it was not negotiable.

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e36m3 (Mar 10, 2017 - 7:22 pm)

New firm is putting you in a pretty tough spot. You have no control over what WIlson Elser will or will not sign so the "offer" they're making you isn't in good faith in my opinion.

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3lol (Mar 10, 2017 - 7:28 pm)

It's somewhat amusing that they would want to keep you because they have high turnover and have a hard time filling positions. You'd think that might prompt them to address why turnover is so high in the first place but... nope.

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flharfh (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:29 pm)

It's because (at least from what I've heard) they have a big hour requirement but mediocre pay. Fixing it would require them to take in less money, and that's a no go.

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rastaman (Mar 10, 2017 - 7:48 pm)

Your employer is under no obligation to sign anything.

It's your job to avoid conflicts.

Your new employer doesn't have to hire you if they feel you will be a risk or worthless due to conflicts.

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wolfman (Mar 10, 2017 - 8:27 pm)

Rastaman is correct. In a word, the answer to your question about recourse is: no.

Or, to be precise, no, not unless you could show another tortious/prohibited activity or intent.

I would be less worried about them not signing because they want to keep you, and more about them not signing because they are lawyers and don't like to sign things without a legal obligation or a business reason to do so (and there isn't any here) and maybe getting rid of you anyway... which begs the question:

Have you told your current employer (I would not mention the actual firm name on an open message board, but that's just me) that you are leaving?

If yes, you might as well go ahead and ask them to sign a waiver.

If no, than your prospective employer is asking you to essentially give notice without a firm offer in hand, with your offer being in fact contingent on your current employer doing something they have no obligation to do. Maybe that's just me again, but I would not accept a job offer couched in those terms, unless I had already given my current employer reason to believe I was leaving...

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murarabbit (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:24 pm)

Thanks. I think you are right. I will re-negotiate with the new firm. I'm just a junior associate and was just involved in this case recently....there is really no legitimate cause for conflict, especially if they wall me in. Appreciate the tips.

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greenhorn (Mar 10, 2017 - 9:45 pm)

Yeah I heard nightmare stories about Wilson Elser. Low pay, long hours !

Then I ran into a 5th year associate and he is very happy working for them. Says he works 9-6 M-F

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attorneyinct (Mar 11, 2017 - 12:35 pm)

I can't imagine Wilson Elser purposefully preventing their client from signing a conflict waiver. Above posters are correct, your new job is putting you in a tight bind by making their offer contingent on a conflict waiver. Seems suspicious.

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parlance (Mar 12, 2017 - 8:37 pm)

No one can flat out prevent you from leaving a job. This is the legal profession; it's not slavery. Maybe it's time to face the possibility that as far as resolving a potential conflict, you are on your own.

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bostonlawyer.2 (Mar 12, 2017 - 9:46 pm)

I would;t work at WE for all the tea in China.

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attorneyinct (Mar 13, 2017 - 11:20 am)

What about all the cocaine in Columbia?

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napoleone (Mar 19, 2017 - 8:45 pm)

Is there a lot of cocaine in South Carolina?

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attorneyinct (Mar 15, 2017 - 9:48 pm)

Hey OP - what happened? We needs some updatesssss.

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