Those who are involved in legal matters in California and throughout the country are generally required to pay their own attorney fees. In some cases, those fees will be paid from a portion of any compensation a person receives in a settlement or after a trial. This is known as a contingency fee case. Regardless of how an attorney is to be paid, a written fee agreement should be created before that person is hired.
The main purpose of the written agreement is to ensure that an individual knows what he or she is paying for. It also allows a client to better understand the process of approving expenses such as hiring an expert witness. Clients should be told why spending money on a deposition or anything else would benefit them. Ideally, an attorney will provide a client with billing statements on a routine basis as a legal matter unfolds.
This is generally true whether legal counsel is being paid on a contingency basis or at regular intervals during a case. If no fee agreement or billing statements are provided by an attorney, it might constitute malpractice on an attorney’s part. It is important to note that it is the attorney’s responsibility to provide this agreement even if a client doesn’t ask for it.
Withholding information from a client may be among many negligent acts that may rise to the level of legal malpractice. This may be true whether an attorney engages in settlement talks without permission or doesn’t fully disclose how much he or she will be paid. If malpractice occurs, an individual may be entitled to reimbursement for legal bills incurred during both cases. Malpractice victims may also be entitled to damages that may have been forfeited because of an attorney’s legal mistakes.