Despite law partners’ best efforts to address in their partnership agreements all areas of potential future conflict, it is impossible to predict all possible disputes. Law partners can and should, however, set out in their partnership agreement a defined procedure for dealing with any unforeseen disputes. Law partners should strongly consider drafting alternative dispute resolution procedures for most, if not all, partnership disputes.
Some lawyers may prefer using the court system when representing clients, rather than arbitration. But in the case of disputes between law partners, the preferable course may be to keep those disputes out of the public eye. Arbitration is well-suited for private, confidential resolution of partnership disputes. Even if a law firm partnership agreement does not require mediation and/or arbitration, law partners in a dispute with each other may still agree to pursue alternative dispute resolution. Whichever route is chosen, mediation of most disputes should be required before litigation or arbitration is initiated.