This case involves a man who was sued for not paying legal fees to his divorce attorney. The man filed for divorce and retained the firm to represent him. A week before his trial, the firm withdrew from the case, citing a conflict of interest and he had to find another attorney to represent him. The firm demanded that he pay for the full cost of their service even though they did not serve as his attorney. An expert in legal malpractice with particular experience in divorce law was sought to review the case determine if there was any legal malpractice from the law firm.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. What is your background in legal malpractice, specifically in divorce law?
- 2. What costs are accrued by the client when an attorney or firm electively withdrawals from their case?
Expert Witness Response E-227684
My legal experience is in divorce work. I review family law matters every day and have gotten into and out of cases close to trial. I am on the peer review committee for a state attorney grievance commission and in this capacity, I determine whether the attorney violated the rules of professional conduct. I am able to opine as to what a divorce lawyer should do and what his/her expectations, as well of those of the client, should be. When a client parts ways with a firm, he/she may incur costs from that firm to close the case and transfer it to another attorney/firm. The client will also incur substantial fees with the new attorney/firm to get up to speed, especially so late in the game. The new attorney will also have to prepare for and attend trial but he/she will not be responsible for discovery or filing motions, for example, because the deadlines will have passed.