Continuous Representation Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Continuous representation doctrine is a principle that the limitations period for bringing a legal-malpractice action is tolled as long as the lawyer continues the representation that is related to the negligent act or omission. Typically, an action to recover damages for malpractice accrues when the malpractice is committed. However, under the "continuous representation" doctrine, a malpractice claim does not begin to accrue while the professional continues to represent the client on issues that gave rise to the malpractice claim.

The "continuous representation" doctrine has its roots in the "continuing treatment" doctrine. The "continuing treatment" doctrine, which applies to medical malpractice claims, recognizes that a lawsuit would have an immediate and detrimental effect on the relationship between a physician and the client, and thus provides that medical malpractice claims against a physician treating the patient does not accrue until the treatment ends, so the patient can wait until then to bring suit.

Under the continuous representation doctrine, a plaintiff may invoke the doctrine, and thus toll the statute of limitations, when the plaintiff can show: (1) that the defendant continued to represent him with regard to the same underlying matter; and (2) either that the plaintiff did not know of the alleged malpractice or that the attorney could still mitigate the harm allegedly caused by that malpractice during the continued representation period.[DeLeo v. Nusbaum, 263 Conn. 588 (Conn. 2003)]