Hilary Gerzhoy has devoted her career to maintaining the highest standards of ethics in legal practice. As a seasoned litigator, she boasts an impressive array of accomplishments, including her pivotal role on the ethics and compliance team during the Biden/Harris transition to the White House in 2020. Presently, she holds the positions of partner and Vice Chair of the Legal Ethics Group at HWG LLP. In addition to her practice, she enriches minds as an adjunct professor of Law and Legal Ethics at Georgetown University and serves diligently as the Vice Chair of the D.C. Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct Committee. With such a rich background in legal ethics, who could be better suited to join “The Future is Bright” podcast? Hilary is here to share crucial advice on navigating the nuanced, yet critically important, aspects of making a lateral move to a new law firm, and to guide listeners in creating a comprehensive plan for a smooth, ethically sound transition.
For U.S. lawyers, adherence to the Rules of Professional Conduct is paramount, and this commitment extends to the specific codes of their firms and the stipulations of their employment contracts—no matter how long ago they were signed. Even the smallest misstep by a partner can give their current firm grounds to meticulously scrutinize the lawyer’s entire tenure with the organization.
Hilary has witnessed firms initiate formidable attacks against individuals attempting to make a move. Hilary asserts that nearly all the potential pitfalls associated with transitioning between firms are avoidable. By participating in today’s discussion, she is here to share strategies and precautions necessary to sidestep these challenges, paving the way for a seamless transition.
Quotes “There’s a number of loopholes that somebody can fall into if they’re not cognizant of it. And usually, it’s not because they’re trying to purposely not follow the rules, just because they’re not thinking about how to navigate this process.” (23:39 | Hilary)
“What I have seen is, the bigger the book of business, the more contentious the fight can be.” (24:37 | Hilary)
“If you’re thinking about making a move, you want to think about what you need to do at your existing firm and where you want to go. And there are two stages of this.” (25:27 | Hilary)
“You essentially give a blueprint of what your practice will look like, if the firm were to hire you. What you want to be able to do is deliver on that. There are certain things that are beyond your control in delivering on that, and you want to try to get everything squared away to the extent that you can ahead of time.” (32:05 | Hilary)