There are no guarantees in the law. You can be confident that you were in the right but still lose your lawsuit. Maybe the other party had a stronger case. Or maybe your attorney committed malpractice in your case.
It’s common to question your lawyer’s performance after a disappointing outcome to litigation or a procedural matter. But how can you distinguish between an attorney who did their best but was unsuccessful and one who damaged your case through negligence? The answer can mean you have a claim for legal malpractice versus just having to accept and move on from a frustrating experience with the law.
Signs of a negligent attorney
Do you recognize any of these issues from your lawyer’s representation? If so, they might have committed legal malpractice against you or your business.
- Incompetence. An attorney must strive to provide quality representation. They must be able to analyze the issues involved in your case, research applicable laws, review the evidence and represent your interests effectively in negotiations and at trial. If they were unable or unwilling to do these things, they might have provided you with incompetent representation.
- Lack of time spent on your case. Whether due to an overwhelming caseload, disorganization or some other reason, if your attorney did not spend an adequate amount of time preparing and litigating your case, you could not receive the level of representation you are owed.
- Lack of communication. As a client, you are entitled to regular updates on your case and to get prompt replies from your attorney when you email, call or text them with questions. Also, these communications should be in clear language so you understand what is going on and what your options are. Lack of clear, regular communication between attorney and client can make a successful resolution impossible.
- Conflict of interest. An attorney cannot take on a client if they already represent a client who is on the other end of the same lawsuit or a related one. And they cannot represent a client whose interests conflict with their own. Otherwise, their loyalties will be divided.
The line between adequate (or even mediocre) legal representation and outright negligence can be unclear if you are not familiar with legal malpractice law. That’s where a conversation with a malpractice attorney can help. An experienced lawyer can go over your case with you and advise you if a legal malpractice lawsuit is your best course of action.