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Should there be a written agreement even when the attorney is pro bono?

Haverhill, MA |

A lawyer agreed to represent me pro bono, but we have no written agreement. I feel uncomfortable with this, especially when there is the chance that some money could be forthcoming. Should there be some kind of agreement regarding our relationship? Or when an attorney represents a client without charge is it usual to not have any written agreement? If I would feel more comfortable having an agreement how could I present this request?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    Yes. There should definitely be an agreement that sets out the terms of the representation, including that it is on a pro bono basis. I would suggest that you contact your attorney and request a formal agreement that you both sign.

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  2. Yes it's always a good idea to reduce your agreement to writing in case of a later conflict or dispute.

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  3. I would add that in addition to it being a good idea, it is now a BBO requirement that all relationships be documented with an engagement letter. Let your attorney know that you feel it is important and if he is still reluctant, I would try to see if someone else might be able to assist you.

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  4. absolutely

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  5. Yes, there should be an agreement. Recent changes in Massachusetts law require a written fee agreement.

    Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, and obtain advice and review of your specific legal issue, please call us today at 617-357-4898 or visit us at www.vaughnmartel.com.