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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Gary S. Sinclair

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . 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.

    Gary S. Sinclair is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts. If you wish to contact me or any other... more
  2. George Charles Samiotes

    Contributor Level 9

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

    The foregoing answer does not establish an attorney client relationship, is not confidential, and should not be... more
  3. Brian C. Snell

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . 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.

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have an office in... more
  4. Henry Lebensbaum

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . absolutely

    Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex... more
  5. Christopher W. Vaughn-Martel

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . 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.... more

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