Even Big Solo can fail

Failure can be experienced by small firms as well as large firms.  In the case of Dreier, the real shame is not that Dreier failed – he committed fraud and there is nothing new about fraudulent conduct causing failure … and even jail. The sad part of this tale is what happens to other lawyers working in the Dreier firm.

What is to be learned here involves the impact on other lawyers who worked in the firm.  Assume for the moment that every lawyer new to Dreier did his/her due diligence to learn about Dreier’s practice, his administrative polices (including malpractice coverage), and other factors of the practice in order to decide whether the lawyer wanted to join Dreier as an associate.

Now, these lawyers focus on the practice, leaving all else to Dreier. There was no follow up. For example, the associates didn’t know that Dreier let his malpractice insurance coverage lapse … which now puts all these other lawyers at risk when clients sue the “firm” and its members who worked on their matters.

Bottom line moral:  What are you, the associate, doing to make sure your firm’s principal is running the practice properly … sufficiently well that your professional and personal liability will be protected? The fact that you don’t “own” the practice does not mean you have the luxury of ignoring the business principles needed to protect yourself and grow your own career.

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