Court holds that client cannot hold firm accountable for actions of attorney listed as "of counsel."
In Wallace v. Monroe, the plaintiff attempted to sue a law firm after his case was mis-handled by an attorney who shared office space with the firm. They also shared a receptionist. The allegedly negligent attorney was listed as "of counsel" on the Defendant's letterhead and advertising, and the client argued that he had no idea what that meant: to him it indicated he had hired one of the attorneys in the defendant's firm. The Court held that the client's understanding or misunderstanding of the "of counsel" representation [and the office, and receptionist-sharing arrangement] was irrelevant because the fee agreement he signed was only with the retained attorney and did not mention the defendant firm. Therefore, he could not claim that the retained attorney was an "apparent agent" of the defendant firm.