Tip of the Month

Tip for December 2008

Identify the Scope of the Representation at the Outset

One of the most effective ways a lawyer can avoid a claim of malpractice is to make explicit from the start the basic parameters of the attorney-client relationship, including the scope of the engagement.  Leaving the scope of the engagement vague or ambiguous may lead to a misunderstanding by the client as to what you are doing and not doing on the client's behalf.  For example, many claims are brought against workers' compensation lawyers for failing to file third party actions.  Although the lawyers believed that they undertook only to pursue the workers' compensation cliams, the clients believed that the lawyers were handling all of their claims arising out of the incident.  Clients prevail in such claims when the engagement agreement does not inform the client that the lawyer is not handling certain claims.

For a more detailed discussion of defining the scope of an engagement, click on the following article:

"Forming the Attorney-Client Relationship" by Thomas P. Sukowicz

This is one of dozens of topics covered in this web site's Publications section.