Most of the time, the relationship between a law firm and its clients is good. The attorneys work hard on behalf of the client. Win or lose, the client knows his or her lawyers did their best.
Unfortunately, sometimes this professional relationship deteriorates, perhaps because the firm did not live up to its legal obligations. The dispute may reach the point that legal malpractice litigation is needed to resolve it.
Legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager is currently in court with a California law firm that once represented him and his wife. While the firm has sued the Yeagers for allegedly failing to pay legal bills, the couple say the firm performed its work incompetently and took on the work pro bono.
Yeager hired the firm to represent him in seven lawsuits, including one in which the other party was his daughter. The attorney-client relationship ended in either August or September 2008.
In January 2009, the firm sued Yeager and his wife over allegedly unpaid legal bills. The firm claimed that the Yeagers owed nearly $270,000. The couple countersued for legal malpractice. Among the accusations was that the firm failed to advise them that AT&T offered to settle a suit against it for $300,000. The Yeagers later were awarded $135,000 in damages in that case. They also say that there never was a written contract, and that they were led to believe the firm was representing them pro bono.
Whether you are the first pilot to break the sound barrier, or just an average Los Angeles resident, when you hire an attorney you are entitled to reasonably competent representation. If your attorney negligently fails to meet that obligation, it could cost you in terms of money and legal rights.
Source: Merced Sun-Star, “Legendary pilot Chuck Yeager battles Fresno law firm in court,” Pablo Lopez, April 26, 2014