How to Avoid a Legal Malpractice Claim: Best Practices for Client Intake & Communication
Created on April 30, 2021
A client hires an attorney to take over a breach of contract case only weeks before the trial is set to begin. After the client agrees to meet the required financial obligations, the attorney obtains the files from the prior counsel. Naturally, the attorney has questions and tries to contact the client for clarity, but the client is slow to return calls. In addition to having difficulty reaching the client, the pretrial motions have been denied by the court and the discussed retainer fee has yet to be paid. The attorney decides to withdraw as counsel in light of the issues and informs the client; however, the client insists the case be taken to trial. The court rules against the client, who then refuses to pay for the services. The attorney tries to collect the funds, but is met with hostility, and the client threatens to sue for malpractice.
What went wrong? This program will use this fact pattern to examine the do's and don'ts of client intake, client engagement, attorney-client communication, and disengagement. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct will be used as a guide in the discussion. Attorneys will learn best practices to reduce their risk by implementing proactive intake and professional responsibility practices.
This program, presented by employment attorney Hope Comisky, will benefit any attorney in private practice, especially solo practitioners and small law firms.
- Identify common weaknesses in the intake process
- Recognize key provisions to include in a meaningful engagement letter
- Review the particular Rules of Professional Conduct which apply
- Explore best practices on how to avoid a malpractice claim
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