Legal Malpractice and Attorney-Client Matters

What You Need to Know About Attorney Retainer Agreements 

Do you really understand the fine print in the Attorney’s Hiring Agreement, known as the Retainer Agreement? Do you know it is a binding legal contract? Do you know that you can negotiate the retainer agreement like any other contract?

The lawyer’s retainer agreement is the contract you sign with the lawyer who will be handling your case.  Be prepared to review the agreement for fairness and to negotiate terms with your would-be attorney. Before you sign on the dotted line, take the retainer agreement home and review it. It is important not sign on the spot. You need time to review it and have any questions answered.

Be on guard for unfavorable provisions in the retainer agreements including  the following provisions that:

  • allow the attorney to obtain a mortgage on the client‟s residence for unpaid fees;
  • requires the client to replenish the retainer agreement on demand without giving the client the option of setting budget maximums;
  • allows the attorney to keep the balance of the retainer agreement without actually earning the fee by working on the case — minimum fee/nonrefundable retainer;
  • allows the lawyer to assign the case to other attorneys — not the attorney you signed up with. Such a provision will allow the attorney to delegate duties to other attorneys.
  • Hidden fees in “incremental billing ” and rounded up bills — where the minimum amount of time is automatically billed at 6 minutes or 15 minutes. So a 30-second call to the opponent’s attorney to leave a message instead becomes a 6 minute legal fee. If the attorney is billing $300 an hour, what would total to 5 minutes for phone calls in real time at $15 dollars is magically transformed to charges of an hour of billing at $300.

What You Need to Know About Attorney-Client Disputes 

  • Attorney-client breakups can be tricky.  Whether a client terminates the attorney’s services or the attorney withdraws from the client’s case, different rules and laws apply that can affect the client’s pocketbook and case.
  • Did the attorney commit legal malpractice?  It happens when an attorney mishandles the client’s legal case either through neglect or fraud causing financial damages to the client.
  • What happens when your attorney demands payment for fees? Billing/invoice disputes between attorneys and clients can involve different laws and types of case precedents.  We have represented clients who are defending  against unwarranted attorney fee demands. We have also represented attorneys whose invoices were legitimate  but were not paid.

Examples of Legal Malpractice Litigation Documents

Action Against KGG Law

What You Need To Know Before You Sign Up With an Attorney 

One important step in choosing a lawyer is doing a background check. The reason is more important than you might realize: Many consumers trust that the attorney licensing agencies have vetted the attorneys who are open for business. But oversight is extremely lax.  Attorneys are self-regulated, and lawyer disciplinary systems are largely ineffective for all but the worst cases – the handful of attorneys who get caught each year stealing from their clients’ escrow accounts.  Lawyers may give themselves stellar reviews on-line with certain lawyer rating sites. But reliance on these sites can be dangerous, by taking a specific  look at lawyers who have been sued for damaging their clients’ interests, or for fee-gouging practices.

Before you sign up with your attorney, you might want us to check up on the following:

  • the lawyer’s credentials;
  •  the lawyer’s disciplinary record;
  •  lawsuits the  lawyer initiated against former clients for  unpaid legal fees;
  • lawsuits  former clients initiated against the lawyer for legal malpractice.