New Jersey Erects Ethical Bar to Common-Law Liens on Client Files

, New Jersey Law Journal


As of April 1, lawyers no longer will be able to hold onto client files and papers to collect fees.

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What's being said

  • jamesacap

    The statutory charging lien is a valuable tool in the right type of case.

  • Rick

    I hope the RPC commentary specifically notes that an attorney's charging lien rights are not affected by the abolition of the retaining lien. That could be a source of confusion.

  • Lewis B. Coe

    In the "olden days" lawyers would get a second mortgage on a client's home. That's history. Now the common law retaining lien is history. I suppose the next step is that lawyers will be history. Should have been a plumber after all. They always get paid.

    More seriously, I wonder if the courts will become more liberal in allowing a lawyer to withdraw as counsel as a result of a client's failure to pay? Attorney Rubin quoted in the article probably says it best. Increase the size of your initial retainer fee. I add, better to have fewer clients who pay than to be working for clients who won't.

    The preceeding is NOT to be contrued as a negative thought about handling a meritorious pro-bono case or cutting a fee for a worthy person who truly wants, respects, and appreciates you but honestly just can not afford your standard fee.

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