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Dispute over fees, legal malpractice claim heard by court

Whenever New Jersey residents have to hire an attorney, they trust that the individual representing them will protect their interests. Many people have limited experience with the court system, and they do not know what they need to do to ensure that their claims are addressed.

When the attorney that has been hired does not perform up to his or her obligations, it could potentially lead to allegations of legal malpractice. These claims are very difficult to prove, as each case will require a comprehensive review of the facts to determine if the attorney's actions rose to the level of negligence.

A recent Florida case has made headlines after a high-profile client refused to pay attorney's fees and alleged legal malpractice. The alleged malpractice occurred in a case where two radio DJs had sued one another for defamation. When that case was settled, the individual that lost fired the firm that had been representing him.

The firm had received nearly $1 million in legal fees prior to the termination. The client alleges that the attorney failed to meet his obligations due to a DUI arrest that happened during the proceedings. The attorney was arrested in a vehicle that belonged to a paralegal for the opposing counsel. 

The client has asked to have a jury trial to determine whether or not the attorney was negligent. The law firm contends that the client had signed an agreement that stated fee disputes would be handled in arbitration. However, the client argues that no such clause was signed. A ruling is expected by September.

Clients with legal malpractice questions may not know who they can trust to review their options. An attorney experienced in handling these types of claims can help clients understand whether or not they may have a case.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Battle over radio shock jock legal fees heats up," Jessica Vander Velde, June 10, 2013.

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