Attorneys should take a hard look at their fee agreements with clients — even the letterhead — to make sure they are crystal clear and mistake-free. Otherwise lawyers risk not getting paid.

The Texas Supreme Court’s split decision in Anglo-Dutch Petroleum International Inc. v. Greenberg Peden, et al. addresses whether an attorney’s fee agreement was ambiguous. The client alleged that a fee agreement on law firm letterhead, signed by the lawyer on behalf of the firm, was with the firm, not the lawyer personally, and therefore he should not be paid in full. But the lawyer countered that his use of personal pronouns in the agreement, among other things, created an ambiguity over fees to be resolved by a jury.

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