When does a client-attorney relationship start? 57 Answers as of September 27, 2011

When does a client-attorney relationship start?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Any time you consult an attorney on a confidential basis.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/27/2011
Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
There are several points where it could begin, my personal explanation and belief is that when you ask for advice the first time, and the attorney gives it, all privileges attach to any conversations. That said if any money exchanged hands, it is a no brainer that the relationship existed at that moment.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/1/2011
Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law
Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law | Thomas Humphrey
It depends on the reason for your question. The attorney-client relationship starts, for the purposes of confidentiality at the first time you communicate with a lawyer. Even if you decide not to retain that lawyer, your communication is confidential. The attorney-client relationship starts with respect to actual representation when you and your attorney have agreed to the terms and scope of representation.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 8/1/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
When a retainer agreement is signed and a retainer fee is paid, representation commences. However, any discussions with counsel with regard to representation remains privileged.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/1/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Probably when the agreement regarding the representation is reached between the attorney and the client.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Typically, once advise is given and the parties agree to the relationship. It ends when either one of you ends it.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    From the time you talk to an attorney about your case even if you don't hire him then he cannot talk to any one about your case or represent the apposing party.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    The confidential relationship begins at the time of the initial consultation. However, in order to retain the services of the attorney there has to either be an appointment by a COurt or a retainer paid.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Once there is an attorney client relationship. This is generally, once a client suits down with an attorney and confides in him or her.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    It depends. Receiving advice from an attorney does not necessarily trigger the attorney-client relationship. However, when a potential client receives a one-on-one consultation from an attorney, the relationship and privilege has begun
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    When the discussion about your case begins.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    In my opinion, the actual attorney-client relationship starts when the lawyer acknowledges that he/she has accepted the case, and the client agrees that the lawyer is now his/her attorney. In most cases this moment arises when the client pays the attorney or there is an agreement signed. There should be some sort of meeting of the minds where the attorney and the client both understand that the attorney is now representing the client. But, prior to the formalization of the attorney-client relationship, the attorney still has the duty to keep the potential client's information confidential from the moment they first begin discussing possible representation. In other words, as a general rule, if an attorney agrees to discuss your legal issue with you, he/she must keep what you talked about secret even if you do not hire him. There are some limited exceptions.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, the answer can sometimes be difficult to determine depending on the facts , but generally for attorney client confidentiality it starts when the potential client first consults the attorney in a situation where there is an expectation by the parties that it is a private conversation for the purpose of seeking legal advice and or legal representation and that the information imparted to the lawyer is to be kept confidential. if there is another person present then the attorney client privilege is waived. Also someone asking questions over the internet such as this question does not establish an attorney client relationship since there is no expectation of privacy since the internet is public and the client is generally not disclosing all the facts and circumstances of his case and is generally not seeking specific advice but only general information . Also talking to an attorney at a social setting such as a party generally would not be considered confidential communication unless the attorney and the client separated themselves into an area where they could have some privacy and the conversation was about legal advice or legal representation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The attorney-client privilege exists when you retain the services of an attorney to represent you. If you have not entered into any sort of written agreement with an attorney for representation, then certain information may not be protected by attorney-client privilege.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    After the attorney has been retained.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    The attorney client relationship begins when the client reasonably believes it begins. However, the relationship cannot just be precatory or indefinite, there must be or should have been a substantial step taken in furtherance of the attorney-client relationship such as executing an attorney retainer agreement, the payments of funds by the client to the attorney and/or action taken on behalf of the client by the attorney to represent or advocate for the client.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    The answer to this question will vary depending upon the exact facts of the circumstances; there is no set answer. The issue of what must remain confidential can be a separate issue from when the relationship actually starts.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    At the time you seek legal advise from the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    The creation of the attorney client relationship is based on the reasonable expectations of the parties. There is no hard and fast rule. Usually when money changes hands or the lawyer puts an appearance in court are sure tell signs.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    As for us, we have a client sign, (after reviewing), a retainer agreement. In our opinion, this is a good, clear starting point of an attorney-client relationship. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
    You need to provide a great deal more information. Ideally the attorney client relationship commences when attorney and client sign an agreement specifying the matter for which the attorney is being retained and clarifying payment arrangement and other details. However, there are circumstances under which the attorney client relationship can be deemed to have started before that. As one example an attorney who has given even a free consultation owes that client absolute confidentiality with respect to the items that were discussed. Beyond that, without knowing the facts behind your question, it is difficult to give a more complete answer.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    As soon as the client speaks to an attorney. Once an attorney has knowledge of the case, the attorney client/relationship attaches. For example, if you interview an attorney on a matter and decide not to hire them, then the opposing party tries to hire that attorney, the attorney cannot take the case or discuss with the opposing party any information that he may have.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    The attorney client relationship starts when a rational person believes it has started. What this translates into is that attorney-client privilege applies when you consult an attorney. The attorney client-relationship typically does not start until the attorney is retained or a retainer agreement is signed.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    An attorney client relationship starts when an attorney gives legal advice to someone who seeks his advice, regardless of whether that person becomes a retained client or not. Any information exchanged during those consultations will be protected by the attorney client privilege.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    When he agrees to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    It can start at different times, depending on the circumstances. If you hire the attorney and pay them, then it is a good starting point. A general question, answered by an e-mail, is not the type or relationship that I would consider attorney-client. You should not take any action based on such an anonymous inquiry or answer. In general, such advice is worth what you paid for it which is nothing! Better to hire an attorney who can answer your questions after knowing the details of your case. You will typically not get free advice, but if you rely on a free consultation and take some action, you are on your own. Let the non-paying buyer beware. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    I believe that that answer may vary from state to state, but here in Missouri the attorney-client relationship starts when an attorney first discusses a legal matter with a prospective client. That's when the attorney's ethical duty to preserve confidentiality and so forth begins.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Even when you are just talking to an attorney prior to hiring him or her, the conversation is privileged and must stay so even if you don't hire that attorney. The relationship starts as soon as your legal dialogue with the attorney starts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    It starts when there is an agreement between the parties to the representation; the attorney-client privilege that protects conversations attaches the moment there is a bona dude request for legal advice and there are no other persons present.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    When you consult with a lawyer it is confidential, but the lawyer is officially representing you when you pay a retainer. The relationship will start when you go to his office for advice, but he is not representing you until he appears in court or signs a retainer agreement or accepts payment for a particular matter.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    I believe it starts the very instant the potential client begins to relate something to the attorney that the potential client wants kept secret in anticipation that the attorney is going to provide some advice, whether the attorney is ultimately retained or not. This forum does not qualify in that regard as it is open for many people.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC | Daniel Hajji
    It varies and it depends on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. By way of example, it certainly doesn't start with the answer herein. V
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    I need a little more information to answer that question. Please call me at the office listed below. Thanks for the inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Once an attorney-client contract is signed, and you have paid the retainer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    The attorney client relationship begins as soon as the client believes it does. This belief has to be reasonable, so meeting an attorney at a bar and talking to him about something other than a legal matter doesn't begin a relationship. Nor does corresponding on line (particularly when most attorneys websites and communications state that no relationship is begun). For instance, you and I do not have an attorney-client relationship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    I believe that if you call an attorney and he/she agrees to give you a consultation without explaining that the client attorney privilege does not apply then the "relationship" starts at the moment you begin the consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    I have always felt that the attorney-client relationship starts when the client engages the attorney for his representation.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    It depends on why you are asking the question. If you are talking about for purposes of keeping information that you provide to the lawyer to themselves (attorney - client privilege), then it starts with the first conversation. If you are talking about when does the lawyer actually represent you, it starts when you pay the lawyer money to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    When the client and the attorney agree that the attorney client relationship has begun.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    When and whether an attorney-client relationship exists can be a very complicated question that has been the subject of much litigation over the years. But under Washington case law, an "Attorney-client relationship exists if the conduct between the attorney and client is such that the client subjectively believes the relationship exists. The belief of the client will control so long as it is reasonably formed considering the circumstances." In other words, if the client believes such a relationship exists and that belief is "reasonable" a court will find the relationship formed. However, the best practice for both attorney and client is to make the relationship clear-cut by executing a fee or retainer agreement. *
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    This is a question of fact. Generally when an individual reasonably believes that such a relationship exists, communications with the attorney will be deemed confidential. The belief however must be reasonable based upon the circumstances and conduct of the parties. Asking for and receiving specific legal advice could be construed as creating the attorney client relationship for that limited purpose.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    From the moment you speak to that attorney. An attorney however, can reveal secrets under some circumstances. If the client is threatening harm to another person, the attorney may disclose that. If you sue the attorney or file a bar complaint, you waive your right to confidentiality. Also, an this just galls me, if you testify and your attorney reasonably believe you are lying, the Washington State Bar requires your attorney to notify the court. I think that's a stupid rule that is in direct conflict with our duties as advocates and our confidentiality requirements but I don't make the rules, I just abide by them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    The attorney-client relationship begins from the moment you enter into an agreement for the attorney to represent you and for you to pay a fee. It is usually solidified by both parties signing a fee, or retainer, agreement which spells out the duties of both the client and the attorney. However, it is noteworthy to point out that the attorney-client privilege attaches from the initial communication and exists even if the client does not end up hiring that attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    I'm tempted to say "when you hand over the money" but it starts when you start talking to the attorney so long as it is clear that you have retained him and will get him the retainer fee shortly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    When the attorney is retained.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    When you both have formed the intent that such a relationship exist. j
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney