Attorney fee disputes reflexively lead to legal malpractice claims.  While that is true, the concept that all legal malpractice claims are dubious strongly overshadows the unassailable fact that attorneys are human, and that without any doubt, humans make mistakes.  That being said, Louis F. Burke PC v Aezah 2017 NY Slip Op 32670(U) December 14, 2017 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 654778/2016 Judge: David B. Cohen is an example of not too much substance in a counterclaim.

” The Complaint alleges that defendants had made a payment on October 17, 2014, there remained an outstanding balance of $42,937.50. As plaintiff was still the attorney of record, it sought information from defendants relating to new counsel. As such information was not provided, LFB remained as the attorney of record, and incurred an additional $17,520 in legal fees until relieved by the Court in May of 2015, leaving a total outstanding balance of $60,457.50. ‘ Plaintiff sent and defendants received invoices on July: 28, 2015, September 10, 2015, and April 21, 2016 of the outstanding balance. On October 20, 2016, plaintiff filed the instant matter seeking to recover lost fees and alleged breach of contract, quantum meruit and accounts stated. Defendant answered and asserted six counterclaims for (1) breach of contract, (2) ordinary ; .! negligence, (3) breach of fiduciary duty, (4) professional malpractice, 1 (5) violation of Judiciary : Law, 487, and (6) “reasonable legal fees.” In the instant motion, plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment on the fourth cause of action of account stated and for dismissal pursuant to ; CPLR 3211 (a)(l) and (7) of all counterclaims. Following several attempts at resolving the motion and the action in its entirety, plaintiff has withdrawn the summary judgment portion of this motion and now only seeks the dismissal of the counterclaims portion. ”

“Although defendants have tried to re-write the, counterclaims, the first counterclaim is for ‘I breach of contract arising out plaintiff’s actions that allegedly led to defendants not having ·; i prop~r legal representation. The breach of contract cl~im is dismissed as duplicative of the malpractice counterclaim (Mamoon v Dot Net inc., 135 AD3d 656, 658 [1st Dept 2016]”

“Similarly, the second counterclaim for negligence is dismissed as duplicative of the legal malpractice claim (see Cusack v Greenberg Traurig. LLP, 109 AD3d 747, 748 [1st Dept 2013]. This point is not contested by defendants. In addition defendants have not stated any facts that give rise even to an allegation of negligence. ”

“The fifth cause of action is also dismissed. Juiciary Law § 487 provides recourse only 1! where there is a chronic and extreme pattern of legal delinquency (.Jaroslawicz v Cohen, 12 AD3d 16012004]; see also Dinluder v Med. Liab Mut. Ins. Co., 92 AD3d 480 [1st Dept 2012]. I! Givi;1g claimant every favorable inference, the counterclaims sets forth but one alleged misrepresentation by defendant and accordingly docs i~ot allege a cognizable claim under Judiciary Law § 487 (Solow 1\{‘?f. Corp. v Seltzer, 18 AD3d 399 [1st Dept 2005]. Based upon the forgoing, defendants’ counterclaim for attorney’s fees;is also dismissed. “{