One of the first things that clients do once they decide to hire a lawyer to represent them is sign a representation/fee agreement with that lawyer. The content of said agreement varies depending on the type of matter the client has. However, a lawyer failing to have a client execute a representation/fee agreement does not negate the lawyer’s exposure for legal malpractice.
The representation/fee agreement certainly makes it clear to all involved that the lawyer has agreed to represent the client and the client has agreed to pay the lawyer for his or her time and work. Once the agreement has been executed, the lawyer begins to work on the file, making telephone calls on behalf of the client, drafting documents pertaining to the matter, even scheduling meetings with potential experts for the case. These actions imply that the lawyer is representing the client and thus the work the lawyer is performing is subject to the same rules of professional conduct, as they would be if a representation agreement were signed.
Just because the lawyer has not asked the client execute a representation/ fee agreement, it does not mean that the lawyer’s actions on behalf of the client are not construed as a lawyer-client relationship. If a lawyer working on your behalf may have committed legal malpractice, call our office today to discuss your options.