There is a very serious time limit, which varies from state to state. In Massachusetts, you have three years from the date you knew or reasonably should have known that some error or omission by your attorney caused you some appreciable harm, even if you are not yet sure what the nature or extent of the harm may be. If you do not file your malpractice suit in court by that date, you are forever barred from doing so. The statute of limitations for suing an attorney for malpractice may differ in your state. You should never, ever, do your own calculations of when your statute if limitations period begins or ends. Only after a thorough review by a competent lawyer can this question be answered with any degree of certainty. The safe way to handle this is to consult with a competent attorney as soon as you can after you first learn that something has gone wrong with your case that you suspect is the fault of your attorney.
There is no cost for an initial telephone consultation with me. Effective client service is first and foremost based on an understanding about the economic terms of the lawyer/client relationship. It helps avoid later misunderstandings, and this is always discussed in detail, at no charge, during the initial telephone consultation. The exact terms of representation will be set forth in a written fee agreement. For general informational purposes, set forth below are examples of my firm’s general billing practices:
I am able to handle most meritorious attorney malpractice claims, personal injury claims and other claims seeking an award of monetary damages on a contingent fee basis. A contingent fee, as approved by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, is a fee that is paid only upon a successful outcome in your case, and is charged as a predetermined percentage of that outcome. My usual and customary contingent fee in legal malpractice cases is 35% of the recovery. If there is no successful recovery, you will owe no fee. For clients who prefer to go with an hourly fee arrangement, I provide a retainer agreement and an estimated budget.
Initial Consultation/Review Retainer
There is no charge for an initial consultation, which may take place by telephone or via internet. The purposes of the initial consultation are threefold: (1) for you to have your questions clearly answered; (2) for you to determine if what I have to offer fits well with your expectations; and (3) for me to make an initial determination as to whether your case has sufficient legal/factual merit for both of us to invest the time, energy and cost it will take to bring about a successful result.
Sometimes, if it is not possible for me to evaluate your case properly in an initial consultation, I may ask that you pay a retainer for further document and legal review, in order to determine if your case is meritorious. If you agree to do so, your full retainer amount will be credited against any contingent fee earned in your case. However, there is never any charge for an initial telephone consultation, and you have no obligation arising from our consultation. Whether or not you hire me, your consultation and everything about it is kept in the strictest confidence.
Not at all. You are free to seek a confidential consultation with me at any time. Frequently, clients see warning signs of attorney inattention, such as repeated failure to return telephone calls and mail, a feeling of being left in the dark, or other perceived problems. Sometimes there are innocent explanations, and the problem can be remedied. I have often assisted people with such problems, in a way that helps repair their relationship with their original attorney. Sometimes the problems do in fact reflect a malpractice situation. In any case, feel free to contact me.