ERIC Number: EJ1173791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Advising Students or Practicing Law: The Formation of Implied Attorney-Client Relationships with Students
Sheridan, Patricia M.
Journal of Legal Studies Education, v31 n2 p207-232 Sum 2014
An attorney-client relationship is traditionally created when both parties formally enter into an express agreement regarding the terms of representation and the payment of fees. There are certain circumstances, however, where the attorney-client relationship can be implied from the parties' conduct. An implied attorney-client relationship may arise even though the attorney did not intend to create the relationship, if the client reasonably believes the lawyer has become the client's attorney. Whether the attorney-client relationship is created formally or informally, the attorney is subject to certain professional obligations and may be exposed to potential claims of legal malpractice or ethical misconduct. Many undergraduate law professors routinely receive requests for legal advice from their students. This situation is fairly common due to the extensive personal interaction among faculty and students within most undergraduate programs, which provides ample opportunity for students to ask questions. In addition, the undergraduate student population is largely unfamiliar with the law and the legal system, so it is natural for students to casually seek guidance from their professor. When responding to a request for assistance, however, a law professor should bear in mind that an attorney-client relationship may be created by providing legal advice to a student.
Descriptors: Academic Advising, Undergraduate Students, Legal Education (Professions), Lawyers, Counselor Client Relationship, Contracts, College Faculty, Legal Problems, Legal Aid
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
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