Should an attorney withdraw when there is a risk of a legal malpractice claim?

In a seminar presented to the Montgomery County Bar Association, an attorney advised that “if there is a risk of a malpractice claim (well founded or otherwise), do not withdraw”.  This is not sound advice.  If the client has accused the attorney of committing legal malpractice, the attorney should withdraw based upon an actual conflict of interest.

If the attorney believes that he or she has committed legal malpractice, the attorney should advise the client of this fact pursuant to Rule 1.4 of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct.  This Rule requires a lawyer to “explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regardin the representation”.

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