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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer

What is an OCA Retainer and Why Does a Lawyer Have to File One When a New Client Signs Up?

 

A:

OCA stands for “Office of Court administration.” There are very specific rules that lawyers must follow when a new client signs up with them. In personal injury, accident and medical malpractice cases in New York, an attorney is required to file a retainer statement with the office of Court administration. There are no exceptions.

This lets the court administration know that you have signed up with me and are now a client of mine. In addition, it also tells them where you found us. Were you referred to from a trusted friend or former client? Did you find me because of some type of marketing or advertising I had done, either online or off-line? The court administration wants to know these details and they want it confirmed in writing.

It is also critical for the attorney to identify the type of case involved. Is it an accident case where the attorney's fee is one third of the recovery? Is it a medical malpractice case where the attorney's fee is based on a sliding scale? Were you referred by another lawyer and if so, who?

All of these factors must be included in the retainer agreement that is forwarded to the court administration.

Once we file our retainer statement, a few weeks later we get in the mail a postcard with our retainer number and the date it was filed.

At the conclusion of your case, we are then required to submit a closing document to the office of Court administration letting them know how your case was resolved. We must also include the original retainer number and date it was filed. This confirms with them that we have taken the appropriate steps necessary to file these documents with the court administration.

This OCA retainer statement is different than the retainer statement that you as a client sign when hiring a lawyer to represent you.