Legal Profession Services

Featured Publication:

Negative Online Reviews: Think Twice Before Posting Your Reply

Thomas Wilkinson co-authored an article for the July/August 2021 issue of The Pennsylvania Lawyer.

More

When lawyers and law firms find themselves in the client seat, Cozen O’Connor’s Legal Profession Practice Group, led by reputable and skillful attorneys with invaluable experience in the legal intricacies of law firms and lawyering, provides a one-stop shop to meet their needs. Whether defending a complex legal malpractice suit, navigating a murky ethical obligation, drafting governance documents for a fledgling law firm, or anything in between, our team of experienced attorneys stands ready to assist with the unique and often sensitive issues in-house counsel, outside lawyers, and law firms face.

Our general areas of focus include:

  • legal ethics and professional responsibility conflicts
  • the business of law
  • legal fee challenges
  • risk management
  • cybersecurity
  • legal malpractice defense
  • mediations and arbitrations

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Conflicts

Ethics questions can be intricately nuanced and fraught with uncertainty, from age-old ethical questions, to the ethical use of artificial intelligence, to addressing issues related to the burgeoning cannabis industry. Our experienced team of lawyers provides advice and counsel to lawyers and law firms in connection with the full spectrum of ethical issues. We also represent attorneys in disciplinary matters and oppose disqualification motions and/or third-party subpoenas. Additionally, because issues involving conflicts of interest can stymie even the most sophisticated lawyers and law firms, our team includes attorneys whose practice is dedicated to analyzing and helping to resolve conflicts.

The Business of Law

We help our clients navigate the business of law, so that they are free to focus on practicing law for their own clients. Our Legal Profession team includes transactional lawyers who provide practical, timely, and prudent counsel on the full spectrum of transactional issues our clients might face, from the solo practitioner looking to hang her first shingle, to a multinational firm looking to complete a substantial merger, to a firm in the throes of dissolution.

Legal Fee Challenges

Challenges to a lawyer’s fee are increasingly common and often involve a number of issues, primarily involving the duties of professionals, the reasonableness of underlying attorneys’ fees, and the actions of underlying counsel in representing its client. Our attorneys analyze fee disputes, the attendant fee reasonableness issues, and available options to secure resolutions in our clients’ favor. We base our strategies on each matter’s unique facts and on Model Rule 1.5 factors governing the fees and transactions inherent to client-lawyer relationships. As proven trial lawyers who have spent years refining our litigation prowess, we are more than prepared to take a fee dispute to court when necessary.

Risk Management

Lawyers and law firms are beset with risk on many fronts. Whether you need help navigating the quagmire that insurance coverage can present, handling a sensitive situation with a firm lawyer that places the firm at risk, or anything in between, Cozen O’Connor can help.

Cybersecurity

As frequent targets of hackers, it is crucial for law firms to ensure that their cybersecurity is airtight. To meet this need, Cozen O’Connor offers cybersecurity consulting services through our affiliate, Cozen O’Connor Cybersecurity Services, LLC (COSEC).

Legal Malpractice Defense

Our team has decades of experience defending legal malpractice claims of all kinds. And unlike legal malpractice boutiques, we have direct access to the collective substantive knowledge of a full-service law firm. We understand that successfully defending a malpractice claim requires mastery of the law of malpractice and substantive understanding of the law governing the predicate matter. We bring both to the table for our clients.

Mediations and Arbitrations

Our experienced team of lawyers includes seasoned attorneys who serve as arbitrators and mediators across the country. We made our name as a trial firm with litigators trained to see both sides of any argument, and we bring this skill to bear in our role as mediators and arbitrators. Similarly, our transactional attorneys are second to none. When these lawyers take on the role of third-party neutral, they bring unparalleled substantive knowledge to bear on the resolutions they broker. Our team is respected for their impartiality, ability to get to the core of the matter quickly, and substantive mastery of the matters before them.

Our Legal Profession Practice Group understands and respects the stakes involved when lawyers need lawyers, and we handle each matter with the sensitivity and finesse required when a lawyer’s or law firm’s reputation and/or ability to practice and prosper is on the line.

 

Experience

Publications

Negative Online Reviews: Think Twice Before Posting Your Reply

July 07, 2021

Thomas Wilkinson co-authored an article for the July/August 2021 issue of The Pennsylvania Lawyer.

Please Remain in Your Seats – The Sky is Not Falling! [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

April 22, 2021

On December 21, 2020, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued its ruling and opinion in the case of Delaney v. Trent S. Dickey and Sills Cummins & Gross, P.C., (“Sills”), a law firm located in New Jersey. Initially, when Brian Delaney, a client of Sills, refused to pay outstanding fees...

Lawyers Preparing for a New Look to Practice In Our Post-Pandemic Lives Should Be Guided by ABA Formal Opinion 498 [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

March 17, 2021

Virtual practice and remote work are seemingly here to stay, in some capacity. The ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility recently issued a formal ethics opinion addressing virtual practice to help guide practitioners. The ABA’s Formal Opinion tracks similar guidance...

Navigating Atty Relationship Conflicts That May Imperil Cases

December 03, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson and Douglas Fox contributed an article to Law360 discussing how to identify and what to do when conflicts arise out of a lawyer's "personal relationship" with opposing counsel.

Ethical Issues With Remote Work During COVID-19 [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

November 10, 2020

In March of 2020, international and national events triggered an immediate and emergent need for employers to transition their entire work force to working remotely. The World Health Organization officially declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11 and President Donald Trump...

ABA Issues Ethics Guidance on Lawyers’ Duties When Clients Engage in Fraudulent or Criminal Behavior

November 04, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson and Douglas Fox contributed an article to the PBA Federal Practice newsletter discussing lawyer’s ethical responsibilities when the their client appears to be engaging in a fraudulent scheme or criminal behavior and seeks advice in furthering that conduct.

ABA Issues New Guidance on Lawyers’ Ethical Duties to Prospective Clients [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

October 28, 2020

The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (the “Committee”) recently issued Formal Opinion 492 (the “Opinion”), in which the Committee offers helpful guidance on navigating the duties to prospective clients under Model Rule 1.18. Attorneys and conflict-avoidance software...

ABA Issues New Ethics Guidance on Conflicts Arising Out of a Lawyer’s Personal Relationship With Opposing Counsel [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

October 02, 2020

Many lawyers are married to lawyers, socialize with other lawyers, and count lawyers they have interacted with on a professional level for years as friends. When do these relationships create conflicts of interest that require lawyers to take steps to address the conflict? The American Bar...

Ethical Considerations for Lawyers Working Remotely

September 25, 2020

Deborah Winokur co-authored an article in the PLI Chronicle discussing how now is a good time to re-visit your approach to remote working and making sure you are practicing good hygiene with respect to these issues: confidentiality, competence and communication.

Division of Fees Between Discharged Counsel and Successor Counsel in Contingent Fee Cases [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

September 09, 2020

When a client terminates, without cause, its legal representation in a contingent fee matter and subsequently retains new counsel from a different firm, the Rules of Professional Conduct related to the division and disbursement of fees impose certain requirements on the successor attorney. The...

Ethical Implications When Acting as Local Counsel [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

August 21, 2020

Many litigators have either retained or served as “local counsel” in state or federal courts.  Litigators with national practices may work with local counsel more often than not.  Those with niche practices handling cases in specialized courts, such as the Delaware Chancery Court, also frequently...

Attys Shouldn't Overlook Obligations To Potential Clients

August 18, 2020

Sarah Sweeney and Thomas Wilkinson authored an Expert Analysis article in Law360 discussing how The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility recently issued Formal Opinion 492 and what this means for prospective clients.

Ethical Implications When Outsourcing Legal Work [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

August 13, 2020

Outsourcing on the Upswing In an era where lawyers and law firms seek to run “lean” as a way of keeping costs down, outsourcing legal and nonlegal services once performed in-house by law firms can be a wise financial move. The advent of COVID-19 has accelerated consideration of outsourcing...

Failure to Adjudicate Conflict of Interest Issue Leads New Jersey Appellate Division to Reinstate Ex-Client's Malpractice Case [Lawyers Representing Lawyers Blog]

August 05, 2020

Plaintiff, Engine Distributors, Inc. (“EDI”), appealed an order from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, denying its motion for summary judgment and granting defendant Archer & Greiner’s motion for summary judgment and dismissal of EDI's malpractice complaint against Archer. On...

Guidance Issued on Lawyers' Duties Regarding Clients' Criminal Behavior [The Legal Intelligencer]

June 17, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson and Douglas Fox contributed an article to The Legal Intelligencer discussing The American Bar Association’s Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(d) (model rule).

5 Ways To Reduce Post-Pandemic Legal Malpractice Exposure

May 27, 2020

John Johnson contributed an article to Law360 discussing five ways to revisit your risk management strategies to avoid unnecessary exposure and reduce claims against your firm.

Fee Division Between Discharged Counsel and New Counsel in Contingent Fee Cases [The Legal Intelligencer]

April 20, 2020

Sarah Sweeney and Thomas Wilkinson published an article to the Legal Intelligencer discussing when a client terminates, without cause, its legal representation in a contingent fee matter and subsequently retains new counsel from a different firm, the Rules of Professional Conduct related to the division and disbursement of fees impose certain requirements on the successor attorney.

Ethical Issues with Remote Work During COVID-19 [Alert]

March 30, 2020

Bill Gericke and Deb Winokur discuss lawyers and law firm's ethical obligations when working remotely and outsourcing work.

Ethical Implications When Acting as Local Counsel [Delaware Business Court Insider]

March 11, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson and William Gericke contributed an article to Delaware Business Court Insider discussing important details when acting as local counsel.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Corporate Counsel Ethics Update

May 12, 2021 - Webinar

Professional Liability Virtual Seminar

December 02, 2020 - Webinar

The Ethics of Managing the Media

July 23, 2020 - Webinar

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 22, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA

In The News

Pa. Bar Leaders Aren't Giving Up On Drafting Anti-Bias Rule

March 19, 2021

Thomas Wilkinson was quoted in an article published by Law360, "Pa. Bar Leaders Aren't Giving Up On Drafting Anti-Bias Rule."

PBA Names 2020 Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Award on Behalf of H. Robert Fiebach

March 11, 2021

The Pennsylvania Bar Association has named its 2020 Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Award on behalf of H. Robert Fiebach, senior counsel in Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department and co-chair of the firm’s Legal Malpractice Group.

What Attys Are Saying About Pa. Justice Saylor's Retirement

March 02, 2021

Thomas Wilkinson was featured in an article published by Law360 discussing his thoughts on the retirement of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor.

Thomas Wilkinson Reappointed Chair of the DRI Lawyers' Professionalism and Ethics Committee

October 16, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson, member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department and Legal Profession Practice Group, has been reappointed as chair of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Lawyers' Professionalism and Ethics Committee.

Lawyer Sues Penn. Ethics Authorities Over Anti-Bias Rule (1)

August 07, 2020

Tom Wilkinson was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article which discusses how a Pennsylvania lawyer is suing state disciplinary authorities, saying an anti-bias ethics rule scheduled to go into effect in December violates his free speech rights.

ABA Opinion Defends Anti-Harassment Rule Criticized as Too Broad

July 15, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article discussing how the American Bar Association is defending a model anti-harassment ethics rule that’s come under criticism as an overbroad regulation of attorneys’ speech.

Pa. High Court Issues New Discipline Rule Against 'Bias or Prejudice' in the Practice of Law

June 11, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson was featured in The Legal Intelligencer discussing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's adoption of a new disciplinary rule saying attorneys can face discipline if, during the practice of law, they “knowingly manifest bias or prejudice, or engage in harassment or discrimination, as those terms are defined in applicable federal, state or local statutes or ordinances.”

Tom Wilkinson Named a Pennsylvania Trailblazer by The Legal Intelligencer

November 21, 2019

Tom Wilkinson, a leader of Cozen O’Connor’s Legal Profession Practice Group, was named a Pennsylvania Trailblazer by The Legal Intelligencer in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

64 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

May 21, 2019

Super Lawyers has selected 64 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2019 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Contacts

Brian P. Flaherty

Member

bflaherty@cozen.com

(215) 665-4647

Thomas G. Wilkinson, Jr.

Member

twilkinson@cozen.com

(215) 665-3737

People

Awards

PBA Names 2020 Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Award on Behalf of H. Robert Fiebach

March 11, 2021

The Pennsylvania Bar Association has named its 2020 Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Award on behalf of H. Robert Fiebach, senior counsel in Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department and co-chair of the firm’s Legal Malpractice Group.

Thomas Wilkinson Reappointed Chair of the DRI Lawyers' Professionalism and Ethics Committee

October 16, 2020

Thomas Wilkinson, member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department and Legal Profession Practice Group, has been reappointed as chair of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Lawyers' Professionalism and Ethics Committee.

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