Bench & Bar of Minnesota
Author: Norman Baer (co-authored with Douglas Elsass)
Whatever your reasons for putting off preparing a written partnership agreement, they’re probably not good enough.
You and each of your partners1 have joined the firm because you agree on basic things. You agree about how a law practice should operate. You agree about how compensation should be determined. You have never had a dispute about new hires, office space, firm finances, or anything else. You have all become good friends and will practice together until retirement. Even if someone did choose to leave, the parting would be friendly and you would all remain on the best of terms. Wanna bet?
The hard truth is that law firms are subject to the same changes as every other relationship in our modern society. Marriages break up. Your children grow up, leave home, and strike out on their own. Corporations are dissolved or acquired. Businesses fail or they prosper to the extent that spin-offs become inevitable. Law firms are not immune from change. The chances are very good that in two years your law firm will be very different from what it is today. For some, that prediction may be good news. For others, any change represents trouble in paradise.