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End of Representation (Client Breakup) Letters

Sample “End of Representation” Client Breakup Letters

If you have a personal injury law practice, you will have to breakup with clients on a regular basis. Every client looks like they have a good case when you first sign them up. But then after you review their medical records or investigate their claim you realize that they don’t have a valid case at all. This happens most frequently in medical malpractice cases, but it can happen in simple auto tort cases also. If you have already filed suit for a client, you will need permission from the court to withdraw, so this page focuses exclusively on pre-suit breakups.

Under Maryland’s professional conduct rules, Attorneys are generally allowed to breakup with a client for “good cause” so long as the termination does not unduly harm the client’s interests. Md. Rule 19-301.16 This basically means that you can’t dump a client 2 days before his statute of limitations expires. If you want to breakup, you need to do it so that the client has an opportunity to find another lawyer before their claim expires. In fact, the Maryland Rules impose an affirmative obligation on the attorney to give “reasonable notice” and “take steps” to protect the client’s interests when breaking up.

What Does “Reasonable Notice” Mean When Breaking Up with a Client?

The Maryland rules require “reasonable notice” and additional efforts to avoid harming a client’s interests during a breakup. The pivotal question is what exactly does reasonable notice and effort mean? The safe answer is that your breakup notice is “reasonable” if the client has enough time to find a new lawyer and get the case filed before the statute of limitations expires.

Exactly how much time is necessary to find another lawyer will depend the specifics of the case. If it’s a complex medical malpractice case with 6 defendants and 8,000 pages of records you probably need to give the client more time than if it’s a auto tort case. Taking steps to facilitate the client’s transition to a new lawyer will always help bolster the reasonableness of your notice.

Examples of End of Representation Client Breakup Letters

Below are 2 examples of what we call “client breakup letters.” These are letters to the client which formally terminate our attorney-client relationship in the matter. Its always good practice to talk to the client in advance of sending one of these letters. Sample #1 is a breakup letter for a simple auto tort case. Sample #2 is for a medical malpractice case.

Sample End Of Representation Client Letter #1 (Auto Case):

June 29, 2020

Jane Client
1234 Fictional Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

Re: Your auto incident on 6/15/2020

Dear Jane:

Please be advised that our office has made the difficult decision that we are no longer able to handle your case. As of this date, our attorney-client relationship has ended.

I encourage you to consult with another lawyer as soon as possible. Please note that the statute of limitations in Maryland is three years. You must file a lawsuit before the three year anniversary of the date of the accident to preserve your claim, or else your claim will be forever barred. There are also potential time limits that may apply to your case that are as soon as 180 days from the date of your incident so we strongly encourage that you contact another lawyer soon to preserve any rights you may have.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Warm regards,
Laura G. Zois

Sample End Of Representation Client Letter #2 (Med Mal Case):

June 29, 2020

Jane Client
1234 Fictional Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

Re: Your potential medical malpractice claim

Dear Jane:

Thank you for providing Miller & Zois, LLC the opportunity to review your potential case. We had an opportunity to consider the information you provided to us, and to discuss the circumstances of the potential claims among the attorneys here in our firm. Unfortunately, our law firm will not be able to proceed with your potential claims.

Our decision does not mean the case is without merit. We do encourage you to immediately consult with other attorneys, as different law firms may have different criteria for claims they are able to pursue. We are delivering to you all the records in our possession so that you will have them if you want to consult other lawyers. If you wish to do this, I recommend you do it promptly.

Please note that under Maryland law, a medical malpractice action must be filed either within five years from the date when the injury was committed or three years from the date when the injury was discovered, whichever is earlier. There may also be notice requirements to file a lawsuit that may need to be met before the three year period. If you fail to file your claim within the applicable time period, you will lose your right to do so. Therefore, you should take immediate steps to make sure your legal interests are protected.

We are sorry we will not be able to help you with this case. Best wishes.

Warm regards,
Laura G. Zois

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