What is an Attorney-Client Relationship?

An attorney-client relationship is a business relationship that involves a high level of trust and confidence. The client needs to trust in the good judgment and skill of the attorney and be confident that the attorney is working the client’s best interests.

How is an Attorney-Client Relationship created?

An attorney-client relationship is most often created when both the attorney and client formally agree to work together on a legal matter. A contract for legal services should always have a written document that specifically covers what the attorney will be doing for the client, and at what cost. It is important to note that the fees a client pays for legal representation may vary significantly depending on the type of case. For example, in most personal injury matters, client fees are paid on a contingency basis. This means that the client does not pay attorneys fees unless his case is resolved through settlement or verdict, and then only a percentage of the recovery is paid to the attorney.

How Can You Terminate an Attorney-Client Relationship?

Both parties have the right to terminate the relationship. You may want to get a second opinion before you end the relationship. Another attorney practicing in the same area may advise you that the attorney is on the right track or that his or her advice is sound. Seek another opinion before you end the relationship over tactics or strategies. You should discuss your issues with the attorney before you end the relationship. There may be problems areas that can be resolved. Also, you may still owe the attorney for his or her time in the case up to the point of termination. Even if your case is on a contingency fee, the retainer agreement may reserve certain rights to that fee. When you hire another attorney, you should disclose the prior relationship in the event fee disputes need to be resolved.

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