Oregonians may sue their lawyers for breach of contract when a contract exists, the lawyers do not follow the contract, and the client suffers some loss.
Does the Attorney-Client agreement need to be in Writing?
In Oregon, most attorney-client agreements do not need to be in writing. Attorney-client agreements can be oral or can be confirmed is less-formal letters or E-mails. There are exceptions. The most important exception is when you hire your attorney on a contingent fee (client pays only if attorney recovers money) for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death. Even when the attorney fails to follow the rules requiring written contracts for some cases, the client still might be able to sue in some circumstances.
What’s the difference between lawyer malpractice (negligence) and breach of contract?
Sometimes, there is no difference, except for a longer statute of limitation. For over 100 years, Oregon courts have said a client may sue an attorney under both contact and negligence theories. T he law implies in every attorney-client contract a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill, which is the same standard as negligence. So, if the problem is substandard work, a client may sue for legal malpractice AND breach of contract.
Other times, attorneys breach contracts by simply not doing the work they promised to do. For example, in one case, an Oregon attorney promised to get a court case reinstated after the court dismissed it. He did not do it. The court said the client could sue him for breach of contract. Similarly, if an attorney promises to prepare a will or perform other services and fails to do them, the client can sue for breach of contract.
Finding a lawyer to sue a lawyer.
Every claim has strict time limitations. If a claim is not made on time, it is lost forever.
Merrick Law helps people evaluate claims against lawyers and sue attorneys when they won’t settle a meritorious claim. Feel free to contact us using the message form.
Jeff Merrick, Oregon Litigation Attorney
©2018 by Merrick Law, LLC and Jeff Merrick. The above is not intended as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Reading it or attempting to contact me does not mean I am your attorney. I only represent people after we sign a written contract.