Charging Lien Florida
Understanding a charging lien Florida shouldn’t be that difficult. There are only a handful of points which you need to know. But lawyers and clients struggle to understand this obscure Florida legal concept — and about paying legal fees. Here’s some guidance from the horse’s mouth! Perspective from one who has drafted, or written, charging liens, litigated them in trial, and handled those appeals.
Understanding the Basics
A charging lien Florida issue typically comes to the court when there is a “fee fight.” A disagreement between a client and a lawyer. ( Note that a charging lien is different than a retaining lien . )
It generally involves non-payment of compensation by a client, or former client, to a Florida lawyer. To see a free Florida Legal video on this topic, click HERE.
Lawyers, many times incorrectly, file a notice of charging lien. Why? “Notice” is one requirement for asserting a valid charging lien Florida. But when does a lawyer have such a lien? (Back in 2017, attorney John Pankauski presented a Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education seminar on this topic.)
Once notice is given, or filed, the lawyer can then move the court (by filing a motion) to perfect, or rule on, the validity of it.
But what is a charging lien and what are the key points you need to know?
5 Things You Need to Know
- A Charging Lien attaches to specific property. Not necessarily a client’s entire case. It may attach to a judgment or settlement.
- Like most liens, this one is a form of security. It is intended to provide the lawyer with some assurance of being paid for her services.
- What specific property the lien attaches to is often agreed to in advance by the client and the lawyer in writing. Liens cannot be overly broad.
- Charging liens should be in writing and signed to, or consented to, by the client.
- There has to be some understanding between the lawyer and client that the lawyer will be paid from the client’s property at issue in the case. From the fruits of the lawyer’s labor.
- For an easy read on this topic, consider reading an opinion from the 2nd District Court of Appeal. This is a quick read and will give you a very broad overview of all the important concepts just discussed.
- To see more on this topic, check out this free VIDEO.