Law Partner Expulsion


Expulsion is an important way for law firms to maintain their reputations, which in turn benefits their clients. Courts face difficulties in second-guessing expulsions and law firms have extra-legal incentives to act fairly and prudently in expelling partners. Consistent with these policy considerations, both the partnership statutes and the case law support a strong expulsion right. The statutory default rules permit expulsion without cause even without an expulsion provision in the agreement. Courts commonly enforce express contractual provisions on expulsion with or without cause. Finally, the policy considerations discussed in this article counsel caution in restricting expulsion under ethical rules and employment discrimination laws.