Allowing a statute of limitations (SOL) to run on a client matter has always been a common malpractice error and I really don’t see that changing. One would think that with the rise of computerized calendaring systems there would be a decrease in the frequency of these types of errors. Unfortunately, it hasn’t played out that way.
As a risk manager, this question is the one question I’m asked more than any other and I get it. Truth be told, however, the answer to this question isn’t a simple one; but it is manageable and it begins with determining when any given file can be destroyed.
The number of professional liability claims that arise as a result of a substantive legal error has varied a bit, but it generally seems to hover around 46%. In short, this means that roughly 46% of reported claims in any given year are a result of an attorney failing to know the law, failing to properly apply the law, or failing to know or ascertain a deadline…..
You finally finish a client matter.
You believe you did good work and got a good result for your client; but as sometimes happens, you find that the client still owes you quite a bit of money, and on top of that, has stopped making any payments.
You certainly deserve to be paid so what are your options?
For a number of attorneys who find themselves in this situation they make a decision to sue for fees based upon a belief that they did good work and got a good outcome. Of course, post fee suit, none of that will matter to the client. If you do decide to sue for fees based upon the reasons set forth above, don’t be surprised if and when a malpractice counterclaim is filed and things start to get ugly. Seems to me the better approach would be to do all you can to avoid the necessity of ever having to consider suing for fees. With this in mind I offer the following thoughts.
It begins at intake and the best advice I can share is this. Read more….
I continue to be surprised at the number of times I have visited a solo practice and found that complete oversight of client property has been turned over to an employee. More often than not, this individual has been employed by the attorney for years and is always viewed as someone worthy of a high […]
I have always felt that my law school education missed one key component. There was never a course on how to manage the business side of a law practice. Oh yes, I do know that now-a-days a number of law schools have developed a basic business class. I’ve actually been a guest lecturer in these […]
Over the years I have tried to encourage solo and small firm lawyers to develop and consistently use a conflict system that tracks all of the information best practices currently dictate. In all honesty, I will admit that I have had limited success in this endeavor. I’ve concluded that I’m just not going to win […]
I will admit that I honestly don’t understand why a lawyer would ever make a decision to not buy a malpractice policy but many lawyers do and the reasons I hear are many. Some believe the premiums are beyond affordable. They’ll tell me “just look at what Docs have to pay.” Others have decided that […]
My first computer came with a built-in 5 ¼ inch floppy drive and the new 3 ½ inch disk drive that was just out. Suffice it to say I was more than a little excited! This was a DOS based system and I thought it rocked. Of course I did what we all did with […]
An attorney’s decision to use an iPad, a cloud based service such as Dropbox, a smart phone, a Wi-Fi network, or even basic email in the furtherance of delivering legal services is not in and of itself unethical nor a poor business decision. The real problem is with what those who use such tools do […]