A New York Law Journal story, "Firms Grow Bolder About Suing Clients for Unpaid Legal Fees," suggests that a tough economic climate is increasing the number of suits brought by lawyers for unpaid fees. The downside?:
Shari Klevens, a McKenna Long Aldridge partner in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta who represents malpractice insurers and firms sued for malpractice, said she believes the number of suits against clients is increasing because of the economic environment, where firms are less likely to let go of a large fee.
But she said she doesn't recommend litigation as a first step.
"As soon as you say 'you didn't pay it,' they say 'well the work isn't good,'" Klevens said.
Malpractice claims are brought against firms in 42 percent to 47 percent of cases where the firm has sued for fees, Klevens said. Firms also face the risk of forfeiture or disgorgement if the client claims the legal services didn't meet the appropriate standard, she said.