Attorney-Client Relationship

Recent Illinois Case: KS Trucking Enterprise Inc v. Albukerk

Posted on

In this unpublished order, the First District affirmed the dismissal of a malpractice claim arising out of an underlying action that was dismissed by default after the defendant lawyer had withdrawn as counsel for the malpractice plaintiff.  The court held that: (a) the malpractice complaint did not sufficiently allege that there was an attorney client relationship at the time of the default dismissal; and (b) the complaint failed to allege causation despite the fact it alleged that the malpractice defendant waived certain procedural defenses because it did not allege that other substantive defenses would have succeeded.

KS Trucking Enterprise Inc v. Albukerk, 2015 IL App (1st) 151230-U

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

 

Case Closed: Making a Formal End to the Representation is a “Best Practice”

Posted on Updated on

By Steven Ciszewski, Partner, Novack and Macey LLP

Steven J. Ciszewski
Steven J. Ciszewski

An often overlooked “best practice” is to formally end the attorney-client representation when a particular matter ends.  This can easily be done by sending a short letter or e-mail stating that the matter has concluded, that your representation on the matter has ended, and that there is no on-going attorney-client relationship absent a new retention letter.

This communication can also be a good time to remind the client of any remaining amounts due and, if circumstances warrant, to invite the client to call you about future matters.

Having such a formal communication at the end of the matter serves several useful purposes and helps reduce the risk of malpractice claims.  Among other things, it creates a clear and documented end of the attorney-client relationship with respect to that matter.

This serves to end any on-going legal duty to the client with respect to that matter (other than on-going ethical obligations to former clients).  It also helps with future conflict checks and other ethical considerations that might differentiate between current clients and former clients.  And, assuming the representation ended on a positive note, this closing communication can be a great time to remind the client of the excellent work you did and to ask for future business from the client.

So, when a matter ends, set aside a few minutes to end it the right way and make sure the case is truly closed.

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

Sterling Radio Stations, Inc. v. Weinstine, 328 Ill. App. 3d 58, 765 N.E.2d 56 (1st Dist. 2002)  

Posted on Updated on

Sterling Radio Stations, Inc. v. Weinstine, 328 Ill. App. 3d 58, 765 N.E.2d 56 (1st Dist. 2002)

Envtl. Control Sys., Inc. v. Long, 301 Ill. App. 3d 612, 703 N.E.2d 1001 (5th Dist. 1998)

Posted on Updated on

Envtl. Control Sys., Inc. v. Long, 301 Ill. App. 3d 612, 703 N.E.2d 1001 (5th Dist. 1998)

Fitch v. McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP, 401 Ill. App. 3d 1006, 929 N.E.2d 1167 (2d Dist. 2010)

Posted on Updated on

Fitch v. McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP, 401 Ill. App. 3d 1006, 929 N.E.2d 1167 (2d Dist. 2010) (preparation of estate plan did not create duty to advise on another’s estate plan; no duty to confess malpractice)

Smiley v. Manchester Ins. & Indem. Co. of St. Louis, 49 Ill. App. 3d 675, 364 N.E.2d 683 (2d Dist. 1977)

Posted on Updated on

Smiley v. Manchester Ins. & Indem. Co. of St. Louis, 49 Ill. App. 3d 675, 364 N.E.2d 683 (2d Dist. 1977)

Smiley v. Manchester Ins. & Indemn. Co. of St. Louis, 71 Ill. 2d 306, 375 N.E.2d 118 (1978)

Posted on Updated on

Smiley v. Manchester Ins. & Indemn. Co. of St. Louis, 71 Ill. 2d 306, 375 N.E.2d 118 (1978)