Florida Legal & Professional Malpractice Attorneys: Breach of Contract
If neither negligence nor breach of fiduciary duty forms the basis for your legal malpractice claim, it may be based on breach of the contractual relationship expressed in the client-attorney contract or implicit from it.
Some terms of the contract between an attorney and his or her client are typically laid out in a signed agreement. Violation of the express or implied terms is referred to as a breach of contract. When the attorney’s breach of contract results in damage to the client, an actionable claim for legal malpractice may exist. While the scope of work and terms of payment are typically defined in the contract, others terms may not be stated but will be implied. The contract and its terms govern the relationship between the client and the attorney.
Breach of Contract Without a Signed Contract
Upon agreement of both parties for the lawyer to be engaged on behalf of the client, there exists an implied contract ─ even in the absence of a signed agreement. Terms that are not expressed may be implied. Implied terms include: competence, confidentiality, an obligation to act in the client’s best interest, an obligation to communicate with the client, an obligation to disclose a conflict of interest, and an obligation to obtain the client’s consent. Some of these implied terms arise from the attorney’s fiduciary duty which is implied in the law.
In certain cases, a letter, email or other writing may be evidence that a contract exists. In other cases it may be sufficient to show a contract was agreed to and established between the client and the attorney based upon conduct or partial performance.
Breach of Contract Claims vs. Legal Malpractice Claims Based on Negligence
Often, a legal malpractice claim will result from attorney conduct that allows bringing an action on one or more legal theories. Both negligence and breach of fiduciary duty are torts. Breach of contract is not a tort, but breach of an agreement from which damage may result. Your attorney will weigh the pros and cons of the various approaches and you may wish to discuss this further with him or her.
With over 25 years of experience successfully arguing before state and federal courts, some of Mr. Zobel’s cases have been recognized and cited as authority in legal malpractice treatises. His experience isn’t just deep, it’s also broad. Mr. Zobel has litigated legal malpractice, medical malpractice, architectural and engineering malpractice, product liability (including automotive and pharmaceutical), business and contract disputes, oil & gas disputes, catastrophic injury cases, insurance (auto, life, property including hurricane and fire), discrimination, sexual harassment, social security disability, family law and adoption matters, probate and real estate matters, as well as automotive negligence cases. Mr. Zobel’s broad range of trial and litigation experience enables our firm to handle most legal malpractice claims.
If you’ve suffered a loss of your legal rights or experienced financial harm as a result of an attorney’s breach of contract, misfeasance, negligence or malfeasance, please contact our firm and speak with an experienced Florida Legal Malpractice Attorney today for a complimentary consultation to explore your options.