Just like any relationship, the breakup of a law firm is complicated, especially when a partner start a new business of their own. In the case of Bernstein & Grazian, P.C. v. Grazian & Volpe, P.C., 402 Ill. App. 3d 961, 931 N.E.2d 810 (2010), the actions of the partners themselves throughout the dissolution of the firm and the fiduciary duty owed to one another play a large role in the division of fees once the firm has closed its doors.
Attorney and partner of Bernsterin and Grazain, Bernstein left the firm to open his own practice. Grazian complained that his former partner allegedly breached his fiduciary duty by opening up his own firm while still working for the current firm. Bernstein denied these claims and the trial court ruled in his favor. The Court determined that there was no breach of fiduciary duty by Bernsiten and that there he was entitled to 10% of the fees for all of the open cases at Bernstein and Grazian before he left. Continue reading ›