New York Law’s Application of the “Unfinished-Business” Doctrine in the Thelen Liquidation

April 27, 2015Articles American Bankruptcy Institute

The New York State Court of Appeals’ decision in Geron v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP reflects the New York courts’ evolving view of the mobility of partners and their clients in large firms. In this decision, the court of appeals held that under New York law, pending hourly fee matters are not “property” or “unfinished business” of a dissolved law firm partnership. The court essentially nullified the so-called unfinished-business doctrine for partners practicing under New York law, starkly contrasting with a number of decisions in California and other jurisdictions. The events leading to this notable New York decision are worthy of review, as are its ramifications.

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