$2.8 Million Jury Verdict for Legal Malpractice

A former politician who resumed practicing law after retiring from the legislature sued Mr. Ochrach’s client, Marty, for unpaid legal fees. On behalf of his client, Mr. Ochrach countersued the lawyer for legal malpractice. Why? The lawyer represented Marty in his corporate matters,
and the lawyer failed to properly advise Marty about a contract with one of his employees. The employee sued Marty claiming he was a 50% partner entitled to half of the profits of the company, and the employee won.  Marty claimed the employee was not a partner and, instead, was given a 10% profit sharing in the company. The reason the employee won, according to Mr. Ochrach, was that the lawyer failed to properly document the relationship with the employee.

Just before trial, Mr. Ochrach convinced the court to throw out the lawyer’s lawsuit against Marty. Then, the parties went to trial over Marty’s lawsuit for legal malpractice. The highlight of the trial was Mr. Ochrach’s cross-examination of the lawyer. Mr. Ochrach was able to show to the jury how simple it would have been for a competent lawyer to draft a simple contract that would have laid out the terms of the employee’s compensation, which would have defeated the employee’s claim that he was owed a percentage of profits of the company.

At the conclusion of trial, the jury awarded Mr. Ochrach’s client $2.8 million.