When you talk to an attorney, you may hear about establishing an attorney-client relationship. But when exactly does an attorney-client relationship start? When does it end? What rights do you have? It is important that you understand the scope of your attorney-client relationship and what it means for you. Here is a brief summary regarding the attorney-client relationship and how one is formed.
When you hire an attorney, you will be presented with a fee agreement. This agreement talks about the scope of representation you are hiring the attorney for and what your rights and responsibilities are. When you sign a fee agreement, you have established an attorney-client relationship.
Implied Attorney-Client Relationship
You don’t always have to sign an agreement for an attorney-client relationship to start. The relationship can be implied by advice given by an attorney, and other factors can build to an implication that an attorney-client relationship exists. For example, merely contacting an attorney does not create an attorney-client relationship. However, if the attorney gives you legal advice or guidance, you may be able to establish that a relationship exists.
Making It Clear
The best way to determine if you have an attorney-client relationship is to ask the attorney you are speaking to. If an attorney has communicated with you regarding your case but does not intend to have an attorney-client relationship with you, they will more than likely be clear and put it in writing right away. An e-mail or letter explicitly stating that they will or will not be taking your case is clear enough to clear any ambiguity.