What is Breach of Contract in Legal Malpractice?
A common question our legal malpractice clients ask is, “What is breach of contract?” When you enter into an attorney-client relationship, you typically (but not always) sign a contract that describes the agreements and nature of the relationship. This contract can either be verbal or written. Breach of contract occurs when your attorney does not honor the specific terms of the contract.
At Sears Crawford, we sue lawyers that have failed to meet their contractual obligations to their clients. We take that relationship and responsibility very seriously. Our experienced attorneys have provided this guide for identifying when a breach of contract occurs.
For more information on the ins and outs of legal malpractice, read our article answering What is legal malpractice?
What are types of breach of contract?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is breach of contract?” we can discuss the different types of breach that can occur.
1. “Handling Attorney”
Occasionally clients retain specific attorneys on a case and contractually agree that the name partner of the firm or another experienced attorney will handle the case. If your contract contained such language and the attorney or Law Firm allowed a younger, less experienced attorney to handle the case, in direct violation of the terms of your contract/contractual obligations, then you may very well have a Breach of Contract claim against your lawyer and his/her law firm.
2. Fees and Expenses
Most written contracts specifically list the hourly rate of the attorney; the percentage of fees to be charged, and the types of expenses to be paid by the client. If the attorney charges fees or deducts expenses not contractually agreed to, you may have a viable breach of contract case against your attorney.
Anticipatory breach means that one party anticipates a breach will occur. One party can simply anticipate that their contract will not be fulfilled or the other party indicates that they will not fulfill their obligations under the contract. The non-breach party can terminate the contract and sue for damages, usually in the form of money, before the breach happens.
For more articles on legal malpractice, read our blog discussing breach of fiduciary duty examples.
How do you prove breach of contract?
In order to recover financial compensation from your former attorney for a breach of contract claim, you must demonstrate:
- A contract exists: You must prove that you and your former attorney had an attorney-client relationship with a valid written or oral contract.
- You (the client) fulfilled all of your contractual obligations.
- Your attorney failed to meet their contractual obligations.
- Damages occurred to you as a result of your former attorney’s breach of contract.
If you do plan on suing your lawyer for legal malpractice, the statute of limitations in the state of Texas for breach of contract is four years after the breach occurs. The minute you notice your attorney has violated your contract, call the legal team at Sears Crawford immediately.
Looking to Sue Your Attorney for Breach of Contract? Contact Sears Crawford today.
If you believe that your former attorney failed to meet the contractual obligations agreed upon, contact a legal malpractice attorney in Houston from Sears Crawford today to help you. Ross Sears has served many clients in legal malpractice cases for 30 years.
Don’t settle for just any attorney when suing your lawyer. To schedule a FREE initial consultation, contact us online or call at 713-223-3333 today.
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