Friday, February 19, 2010

Connecticut Attorney Billing Abuse

Being a lawyer is not just a profession, it is also a business. Like any business, lawyers and law firms want to make money. Unfortunately, often the drive for profits can cause billing abuses and overcharging of legal fees.

Lawyer billing abuses come in many different forms. It can include hour padding, charging for work that was never done, performing needless or questionable work, and charging for the time of several attorneys all doing the same thing. It can also include circumstances where a lawyer handles a case in a manner that is not in the best interest of the client, but rather to maximize attorney fees. A lawyer must act in the best interest of the client not herself.

Decisions on actions to be taken are sometimes made less on the basis of what’s in the best interest for the client, than it is how much can be billed for the work. A lawyer must act in the best interest of her client, not her own best interests.

We’ve helped clients who have been the victim of overcharging or billing abuse both by seeking a refund of any overpayment and by defending the client in a collection action brought by the attorney. If you feel that your attorney has inappropriately over billed you, give us a call – we can help.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some Tips On How Clients Can Help Avoid Falling Victim

At Stanger & Arnold, we often hear about the things that go horribly wrong in an attorney-client relationship. That’s because we handle cases involving legal malpractice in Connecticut.

When hiring an attorney, it is crucial to be an "informed consumer.” When looking to hire an attorney, clients should be asking themselves:

1. How did I learn about this attorney? What is his/her reputation?
Ask a lot of questions. Interview the attorney. You are hiring them – they are your employee.

2. Do I fully understand the representation contract that I have signed with the attorney?
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. You should fully understand all of the elements of the contract. Your attorney should explain each part of the contract with you before expecting you to sign it.

3. Have I been provided a copy of every contract or document that I have signed?
After signing a document such as a contract, if he or she does not first offer it, request a copy from your attorney and retain it for your records.

4. Does my attorney carry malpractice insurance?
Beware - your attorney may be bare. Connecticut attorneys are not required to carry malpractice insurance. This is a big deal because if your attorney screws up and does not have malpractice insurance, he or she may not have the money to pay for any damages their error has caused you. For attorneys, a good rule of thumb is to carry as much insurance as the amount of their largest case.

These are the types of questions that clients should be thinking about when hiring an attorney. If you have questions regarding legal malpractice in Connecticut – we can help.