Law Practice Management

Ex-Partner Suit: Two Firms Using My Name Is One Too Many

Updated: It isn’t unusual for a law firm to leave a former partner’s name on its shingle after he has made a final exit from law practice into the grave.

But Lawrence Charfoos is still alive and well, not to mention practicing at a competing new firm, Charfoos Giovan & Birach. So the Detroit lawyer wants his name removed from the letterhead and signage of his former firm, Charfoos & Christensen, lest clients think he’s still at his old shop, according to Business Wire.

That didn’t happen after his departure from his now-former firm late last year, and Charfoos took the matter to court on Friday. His Oakland County Circuit Court suit seeks an order prohibiting Charfoos & Christensen from continuing to use his name. It also alleges that the firm owes him money for legal fees in settled and pending cases.

Neither the press release nor a brief Detroit Free Press article contains any comment from the Christensen firm, and the firm’s managing partner wasn’t immediately available to respond to a call from the ABA Journal.

But the Christensen firm’s managing shareholder, J. Douglas Peters, later told the ABA Journal there is no factual basis for the lawsuit, because the deceased father of Lawrence Charfoos founded his firm and was its name partner. Lawrence Charfoos, Peters says, was last a shareholder in 1991, although he continued to work at the Christensen firm thereafter. The senior Charfoos was a shareholder until his death in 1995, Peters states.

More details are provided in a subsequent post.

Updated on Jan. 26 to provide information from subsequent post.

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