Attorney Lien Definition

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The right of a lawyer to hold a client’s property or money until payment has been made for legal aid and advice given.

In general, an attorney lien is a security interest used by a creditor to ensure payment by a debtor for money owed. Since an attorney is entitled to payment for services performed, the attorney has a claim on a client’s property until compensation is duly made.

A charging lien is an attorney’s right to a portion of the judgment that was won for the client through professional services. It is a specific lien and only covers a lawyer’s claim onmoney obtained in a particular action.

A retaining lien is more general in its scope. It extends to all of a client’s property that an attorney might come into possession of during the course of a lawsuit. Until an attorney iscompensated for services, he or she has a claim or interest in such property.

West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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