Compilation of Cases Involving Restrictive Covenants Among Law Partners
The ethical rules prohibiting lawyers from entering into restrictive covenants – Model Rule 5.6 and its predecessor, DR 2-108 of the Code of Professional Responsibility – are not as simple as they appear. For those lawyers, schooled under Cohen v. Lord Day & Lord, 75 N.Y.2d 95 (1989), the prohibition appears absolute: lawyers may not enter into agreements with their law partners that require those who leave the firm to forfeit earned compensation or other benefits if they compete with the firm. Some courts take an equally simplistic view.
July 28, 2007