December 11, 2005
Ethical Use of Stationary
Assume you're an associate and you're leaving a firm. Would it be unethical to use the firm's stationary to send out a letter to clients explaining that you're leaving? Comments would be appreciated.
This is actually sort of related to one of the things we recently covered in employment law. My understanding is that it's perfectly fine (and legal) to tell current clients in advance that you're planning on leaving your current job. It's even ok to tell them that you're going to be starting your own business that might be competing with the business of your current employer. However, it is not ok to actively solicit customers for your new business before you've quit your old job. The legal battles are fought on the line between notifying and soliciting.
Of course, that's just a tangent. Katherine's question is whether you can use firm stationary to explain that you're leaving the firm. I say yes. Why not? So long as you're not asking them to follow you to a new firm or your own business, it's just professional courtesy to let your clients know you're moving on. And so long as you're still employed by the firm, it's part of your business to let the clients know that you're leaving, so using business stationary seems like the right thing to do.
So, dear readers, what do you think? Please comment here or at Not for Sheep.