SAN FRANCISCO — In a closely watched law firm bankruptcy case, the California Supreme Court on Monday held that dissolved firms aren’t entitled to a portion of unfinished hourly fee matters that departing partners take with them to new firms.

“Any expectation the law firm had in continuing the legal matters cannot be deemed sufficiently strong to constitute a property interest allowing it to have an ownership stake in fees earned by its former partners, now situated at new firms, working on what was formerly the dissolved firm’s cases,” wrote Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar in a unanimous opinion.

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