Thursday, August 26, 2010

No Fee Agreement Doesn’t Mean No Legal Malpractice Exposure

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.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Legal Malpractice for Withdrawing the Case

There are many reasons for a lawyer to withdraw a client’s case from the court system. Usually, the withdrawal occurs after a settlement agreement has been reached and the releases have been executed, and signifies an end to litigation.

A lawyer may also withdraw from representation of a client. This may occur for any number of reasons including an inability to work together or a client’s selection of another lawyer to handle the case. In these situations, replacement counsel files an appearance in the case and the pervious lawyer will be withdrawn from the case.

Neither of these first two examples would be a basis for a legal malpractice claim. However, if a lawyer files a withdrawal of a case that is in suit, without first advising the client, the client may be unable to revive the lawsuit and the client may have a legal malpractice claim against their lawyer. If the client is unaware that this withdrawal has been filed, he or she will not be aware that they need to seek alternate representation and this lapse in time could lead to many additional issues with their case, including missing deadlines with the Court or inability to maintain a claim.

If your case is in suit, and you are unsure of its status, contact your lawyer or look your case up online at

The experienced attorneys at Stanger & Arnold, LLP have provided skilled legal malpractice representation for clients throughout Connecticut. Contact our firm today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorney negligence lawyers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Legal Malpractice Extends to Foreclosure Matters

Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer fails to provide the client with competent professional service and as a result of such, the client suffers damages. Legal malpractice is not limited to just one area of the law. Lawyers handle many different types of cases and the professional duty to each and every client still exists, regardless of the type of case.

More recently, with regard to foreclosure matters, the catchy phrase “show me the money” has been replaced with “show me the note”. Homeowners on the verge of foreclosure are demanding that the mortgage holder show them the mortgage and the note so the homeowner can see proof that the mortgage holder does hold their indebtedness. Trial courts have, in recent cases, dismissed some foreclosure cases when the bank is unable to produce the note.

This may become a more widespread problem due to the fact that many mortgages have been transferred from the original lender into the banking system and eventually sold to pools of investors.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unprepared Attorney is No Reason to Settle

When a client is selecting an attorney to represent their interests in a case, they do so with the understanding that they are entrusting that attorney to diligently handle their matter. For most clients, this case is their first experience with the legal system, and for that reason, they select an attorney who is competent to not only handle the matter but advise them along the way.

When the time comes to discuss potential settlement of the case, the client often looks to his/her attorney for guidance. Since the attorney has more experience with the legal system, the client trusts that their attorney will make the appropriate recommendations. There may be many different reasons for an attorney to recommend that their client settle a case. For example, the offer may be reasonable for the damages suffered or the client may be ill and not wish to proceed to trial, so they make the decision to settle their case for the current offer.

However, if the attorney is not prepared to go forward with the litigation of the case due to the fact that she has not engaged in any discovery and trial is in the upcoming weeks, that basis alone, should not be a reason for settling a client’s case. If your attorney failed to properly handle your case, or advised you to settle because they were not prepare to move forward with the next step, call our office today to discus your possible legal malpractice claim.