Monday, March 5, 2018

Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, S236208

Winding up: Dissolution: Partnership:

Winding up is “the process of completing all of the partnership’s uncompleted transactions, of reducing all assets to cash, and of distributing the proceeds, if any, to the partners.” (Gregory, The Law of Agency and Partnership (3d ed. 2001) § 227, p. 368.)

Under RUPA, “a person winding up a partnership’s business may preserve the partnership business or property as a going concern for a reasonable time, prosecute and defend actions and proceedings, whether civil, criminal, or administrative, settle and close the partnership’s business, dispose of and transfer the partnership’s property, discharge the partnership’s liabilities, distribute the assets of the partnership pursuant to Section 16807, settle disputes by mediation or arbitration, and perform other necessary acts.” (Corp. Code, § 16803, subd. (c).)

But, in case of a dissolved law firm: with the exception of fees paid for work fitting the narrow category of winding up activities that a former partner might perform after a firm’s dissolution, a dissolved law firm’s property interest in hourly fee matters is limited to the right to be paid for the work it performs before dissolution. Consistent with our statutory partnership law, winding up includes only tasks necessary to preserve the hourly fee matters so that they can be transferred to new counsel of the client’s choice (or the client itself), to effectuate such a transfer, and to collect on the pretransfer work. Beyond this, the partnership’s interest, like the partnership itself, dissolves.

(Cal. S.C., March 5, 2018, Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, S236208)

Dissolution et liquidation d'un "partnership" : référence de doctrine en matière de liquidation. Application de Cal. Corp. Code, § 16803, subd. c) et 16807. Les opérations de liquidation d'une étude d'avocats sont substantiellement plus réduites que celles mentionnées par les références précitées. Elles ne concernent guère que les procédés liés au paiement des honoraires de l'associé qui s'occupe de la liquidation, ainsi que les procédés liés au recouvrement des honoraires dus avant dissolution, permettant la remise du dossier au nouveau conseil ou au client lui-même.

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