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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
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Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Attorney A1 employs attorney A2 (only A1s name is XXXXX XXXXX firms

Customer Question

Attorney A1 employs attorney A2 (only A1's name is XXXXX XXXXX firm's name). Years later, A2 employment ends.
More years later, A2's husband and party B1 engage & complete 2hrs of attorney services from A1. A1 did not present in any fashion to B1 his history of years ago previously being an employer of the wife (A2) of the now A1's current one of two joint clients, A2's husband.
One year later, same exact occurs.
Two more years later, B1 this time became finally aware about the employment relationship between A1 & A2 prior; verbal only; and not from A1, nor A2's husband, nor A2. A2's husband & party B1 again engage services of A1 & because services needed become over 2hrs, A2's husband and party B1 now retained with A1.
Issues, now many are occurring.
Q1: was A1 in all 3 above attorney client encounters with the joint-client party of "A2's husband and B1" required (in its strictest meaning; i.e. far more than just "suggested") to have 1st procured written informed consent from B1 because A1 had been a prior employer of A2's husband's wife?
Q2: Do/must/are informed written consents required to be maintained within client files?
Q3: For how long are attorney client files required to be kept?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello: This is PhillipsEsq. I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.

Attorney A1 employs attorney A2 (only A1's name is in the firm's name). Years later, A2 employment ends.
More years later, A2's husband and party B1 engage & complete 2hrs of attorney services from A1. A1 did not present in any fashion to B1 his history of years ago previously being an employer of the wife (A2) of the now A1's current one of two joint clients, A2's husband.
One year later, same exact occurs.
Two more years later, B1 this time became finally aware about the employment relationship between A1 & A2 prior; verbal only; and not from A1, nor A2's husband, nor A2. A2's husband & party B1 again engage services of A1 & because services needed become over 2hrs, A2's husband and party B1 now retained with A1.
Issues, now many are occurring.
Q1: was A1 in all 3 above attorney client encounters with the joint-client party of "A2's husband and B1" required (in its strictest meaning; i.e. far more than just "suggested") to have 1st procured written informed consent from B1 because A1 had been a prior employer of A2's husband's wife?

Response 1: Yes.

Q2: Do/must/are informed written consents required to be maintained within client files?

Response 2: Yes, by professional malpractice carriers, which require that all agreements with the clients be in writing and be maintained in case of legal malpractice claim. Also, by the bar, which requires that all agreements with clients be in writing and the records of them kept.

Q3: For how long are attorney client files required to be kept?

Response 3: There is no set specific time frame for this. When to discard is at the judgment of each Attorney considering the circumstances in the case. There are numerous opinions on this question. Click on the links below review some of the opinions on the subject.

Opinion 1


Opinion 2

Article 3

Opinion 4

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answers thus far and for the links. Very helpful.


Regarding your response #1, does A1's responsibility to always get written informed consent (WIC) from all co-clients of whom whenever doing attorney business with his former employed attorney's (A2's) husband, does WIC always remain uniquely only with/owned by only A1?


In other words, if A1 later himself becomes employed by another firm (so had his own firm; dissolved, now A1 is employed with new firm) is the new firm liable for damages that result because A1's actions of not obtaining WIC in applicable to himself situations prior?


In anticipated to become soon legal malpractice matters (as I'm party B1) as this (because no WIC, damages resulted, tbd $ liability of attorney/attorney's firm issue) is it generally best to first engage a legal malpractice attorney first, or instead first self-go to the local nysba unit and wait and have received in hand first their determination(s), then afterwards shop legal malpractice attorneys? Assuming of course the statue limits (think in NY is 3yrs re: this) are not necessarily currently in jeopardy?

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answers thus far and for the links. Very helpful.

Regarding your response #1, does A1's responsibility to always get written informed consent (WIC) from all co-clients of whom whenever doing attorney business with his former employed attorney's (A2's) husband, does WIC always remain uniquely only with/owned by only A1?

In other words, if A1 later himself becomes employed by another firm (so had his own firm; dissolved, now A1 is employed with new firm) is the new firm liable for damages that result because A1's actions of not obtaining WIC in applicable to himself situations prior?

Response 1: The answer is yes under theory of imputed liability.

In anticipated to become soon legal malpractice matters (as I'm party B1) as this (because no WIC, damages resulted, tbd $ liability of attorney/attorney's firm issue) is it generally best to first engage a legal malpractice attorney first, or instead first self-go to the local nysba unit and wait and have received in hand first their determination(s), then afterwards shop legal malpractice attorneys?


Response 2: The later. For the record, the NYSBAR is not the agency for Attorney Discipline in New York State. Rather, complaints against Attorneys must be filed with the Grievance Committees of the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Courts where the Attorneys are admitted to practice. So, you must first find out which Appellate Division admitted the Attorney. Then you need to file complaint with the Grievance Committee of that Appellate Division.


Attorney directory



Attorney Grievance Committees



Assuming of course the statue limits (think in NY is 3yrs re: this) are not necessarily currently in jeopardy?



Response 3: Statute of Limitations for legal malpractice in New York State is 3 years. See New York Civil Practice, Law & Rules Section 214(6).

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