The extent of your injury, and thus what you might recover from your attorney in a legal malpractice case, is a crucial question in determining whether you have a claim that is financially prudent for you to pursue. If your damages are low or speculative, then you or your attorney may be taking a big risk in investing time and money in trying to recover something. For that reason, one of the first areas of analysis - before even addressing whether your attorney committed malpractice - can sometimes be what the nature of your injuries are.
The Virginia State Bar "strongly recommends" that attorneys always have written fee agreements with their clients, which describe the scope of the legal services to be performed, and the financial arrangements for payment of the attorney's fees. However, this is merely a suggestion, and not an absolute requirement; therefore, attorneys are far too quickly hired by clients through nothing more than a phone call or a handshake. While there is certainly nothing improper or unethical about this practice, the prudent client should always demand that the terms for employment of an attorney be clearly set forth in a written document. Here are a few reasons why this is important: