Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attorney-Client: What is the nature of the relationship between lawyer and client?


Contractual and fiduciary

How does Texas law view the relationship between a lawyer and his or her retained client?

An attorney-client relationship is a contractual agreement that can be created by an express contract or implied from the actions of the parties. See Tanox, Inc. v. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., 105 S.W.3d 244, 254 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, pet. denied). In determining whether a contract which creates an attorney-client relationship should be implied, the court should use an objective standard, looking at what the parties said and did, and does not consider their unstated, subjective beliefs. See Span Enterprises v. Wood, 274 S.W.3d 854, 857-58 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2008, no pet.).

In certain formal relationships, such as an attorney-client relationship, a fiduciary duty arises as a matter of law. See Esty v. Beal Bank S.S.B., 298 S.W.3d 280, 303 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.).

SOURCE: Dallas Court of Appeals - 05-10-00856-CV - 7/26/11

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