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Mississippi College Law Review





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Every semester, law students and professors struggle with the situation presented in the Texas Supreme Court case of Bohatch v. Butler & Binion. There, Colette Bohatch, pursuant to her ethical duties, reported within the firm of Butler & Binion another partner suspected of overbilling. The law firm then expelled her, and while the Supreme Court held that Bohatch needed to follow her ethical duties, the firm could properly expel her for doing so. The reasoning was that, among other things, the trust and confidence needed for a partnership trumped any purported policy protecting law firm whistleblowers, and Bohatch had lost the trust of the partnership.

The Catch-22 of the Bohatch scenario troubles many. However, as further consideration of this case shows, this Catch-22 can be solved by moving the starting point of the analysis of the scenario to when an attorney freely chooses to become partners with other attorneys. When an attorney signs an at-will agreement that allows for no-cause expulsion, she exposes herself to expulsion that is in the purported best interest of the partnership, as occurred in Bohatch. If considered through this lens, it becomes clear that the Texas Supreme Court in Bohatch reached the correct result, and that any court that faces the same situation should reach the same conclusion.

Recommended Citation

David A. Grenardo, Long Live Bohatch: Why a Law Firm Partner Can be Expelled for Following the Rules of Professional Conduct, 34 Miss. C. L. Rev. 15 (2015).

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