New York State Court of Appeals
Partnership — Pending Hourly Lawyer’s Fee
In re: Coudert Brothers and In re: Thelen LLP
No. 137 & 136
Background: At issue is whether, for the purposes of administering a related bankruptcy, New York law treats a dissolved law firm’s pending hourly fee matters as its property.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals held that the pending hourly fee matters are not partnership “property” or “unfinished business” within the meaning of New York’s Partnership Law. A law firm does not own a client or an engagement, and is only entitled to be paid for services actually rendered.
No 136: Howard P. Magaliff for the appellant; Michael R. Levinson for the respondent; Case No. 137: Joel M. Miller for the appellants-respondents K&L Gates LLP, et al. Shay Dvoretzky for the appellant-respondent Jones Day; David J. Adler for the respondent-appellant