So what's the harm? Well, even I, someone predisposed to look askance at the practice, was surprised and alarmed when researching this piece by the amount of damage a lawyer can do to his or her career by engaging in this practice. The bottom line is that moonlighting can cost you your career
, your fortune, and your livelihood. Stop, look, and listen!
First of all, let's define terms. Moonlighting in the classic sense means working for more than one employer (or for yourself while simultaneously working for an employer). This is something that law firms are particularly sensitive to. Most have policies forbidding the practice outright. Some may indicate that this is a condition for automatic termination. There are many reasons for this, each as valid as the last.
Moonlighting is a Huge Potential Liability for Your Firm.
By virtue of a number of statutory and common-law principles, your firm is potentially on the hook for malpractice for any work you complete, even if you procure and conduct the work on your own. Of course, the particulars vary by jurisdiction, but there have been several high-profile cases in a variety of jurisdictions over the last 10 years that have sent firms scurrying to ensure their policies against this practice are as airtight as possible. Not only is your own potential malpractice a worry, but conflicts are also a gargantuan concern.
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