Have you had a bad experience with a lawyer? After a bad experience with litigation or some other legal matter, you might be left wondering if your attorney did their best or if you have been the victim of legal malpractice. Even an experienced, skilled and dedicated lawyer cannot deliver everything their client wants every time. But when an attorney neglects their legal duty of care toward their client, the client has virtually no chance of a fair and acceptable outcome to their conflict or procedural matter.
Here are five ways lawyers can commit malpractice:
- Missed deadlines. Courts set multiple deadlines for filing important documents. Missing those deadlines without a valid excuse can led to adverse consequences, even dismissal of your case. Failure to file a claim in a timely manner can lead to claims being barred by statutes of limitation. This often happens because the attorney negligently failed to plan ahead or to calendar important deadlines.
- Inadequate use of discovery. The discovery phase of a civil suit is the time for both sides to request crucial evidence from each other. Failing to conduct a thorough investigation or interview key witnesses is never in the client’s best interests.
- Poor communication. Clear communication between attorney and client is essential. Your lawyer should promptly respond to emails, voice mails and text messages with answers to your questions and updates on your case. A client whose attorney leaves them in the dark about what is going on cannot make informed decisions about how to proceed.
- Misuse of client funds. If you paid a retainer advance on legal fees, your lawyer was supposed to put that money into a trust account while your case was pending and until you approved an invoice. Putting those funds into their personal bank account is an ethical violation.
- Fraud. Deception and misleading statements are never acceptable. You should be able to trust your attorney to be honest with you at all times, whether it’s good news or bad.
- Conflict of Interest. A lawyer cannot represent you if he or she has a conflict of interest without full disclosure and your agreement to waive the conflict.
- Failure to properly memorialize an agreement. If your lawyer misses a key term in an agreement and it later costs you, the lawyer may be held liable for malpractice.
Negligent legal representation can cost you dearly. You may be able to get that back through a legal malpractice lawsuit. If you think you have been the victim of legal malpractice, please contact us for a free consultation.