For lawyers being laid off some things to remember:

  1. As one copes with the anxiety and personal problems related to being laid off, one must continue to fulfill one’s obligations under The Rules of Professional Conduct.  See in particular Rule 1.15, Declining or Terminating Representation, Rule 5.1, Responsibilities of Partners, Managers and Supervisory Lawyer, and Rule 5.2, Responsibilities of a Subordinate Lawyer.
  2. Make a list of your clients, i.e. clients with respect to which you have an attorney – client relationship. Notify your clients, but see Rule 5.2 and commentary.
  3. Clients do not “belong” to the firm or to the departing lawyer.  Clients choose their lawyers and, subject to certain conditions, are free to change their minds and their lawyers.
  4. With respect to legal proceedings in which you have filed an appearance, follow the rules for withdrawal from representation unless the client wants you to continue with the representation notwithstanding the change in your employment status. 
  5. If a client wants you to continue your representation notwithstanding that you have been laid off, make a determination as to whether you are willing and able to continue the representation under your new circumstances and whether doing so is consistent with the client’s best interests.