Legal malpractice is a situation in which an attorney who has been hired to work for a client makes a mistake or fails to do what the attorney should have done. If a client has been injured by the acts of an attorney, there is a remedy. That remedy is legal malpractice and we can help.
To prove a claim of legal malpractice, the client must prove that: (1) an attorney-client relationship existed; (2) the attorney breached the duty of care to the client; (3) the attorney’s breach of the duty contributed to the client’s damages; and, (4) the client suffered financially as a result of the conduct of the attorney. The measure of damages is the difference between (1) where the client should be had the legal malpractice not occurred; and (2) where the client is as a result of the malpractice.
In order for you to successfully prosecute your claim, you must hire an attorney to act as your legal expert, something that can be worrisome at best for some people who have been a victim of legal malpractice. It is a tough decision to make, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes in seeking justice for your particular circumstances.
Paul Snow has years of experience in handling legal malpractice claims and has successfully handled numerous legal malpractice cases, some involving multi-million dollar damages. We are not afraid of taking on the largest and most aggressive law firms on your behalf. We believe that every client who has been a victim of legal malpractice by their attorney should receive justice. We fight for your rights and hold attorneys and their law firms responsible for the wrongs that they have committed. Although attorneys practice law, they are not above the law and must be held liable for their actions. Mr. Snow has spoken at a number of legal seminars and writes articles involving various aspects of legal malpractice. Are you a victim of legal malpractice?
We recognize that every person who approaches our law firm with a potential legal malpractice claim already feels victimized by their prior lawyer. Such clients have often lost their trust for the law and the legal system. We work to rebuild that trust that is essential to the attorney-client relationship.
Though allowing yourself to trust another attorney after your faith has been broken by legal malpractice may be difficult, seeking the right help is the best way to ensure that your case yields the results that you deserve. Pursuing your case for legal malpractice will involve finding a lawyer you can trust, as well as understanding whether you actually have the grounds to sue for legal malpractice in the first place.
Malpractice claims sometimes result from missing deadlines, failing to properly investigate claims, omitting claims or defenses, mishandling client funds, failing to adequately communicate with the client, engaging in unfair dealings, failing to follow reasonable client instructions, or breaching the duties of loyalty or confidentiality. Attorneys are sworn to protect your legal interests.
Examples of Lawyer Negligence :
Attorney malpractice can take many forms. Here are some examples of negligence that might lead to a legal malpractice claim:
- Conflicts of interest - representing both parties without written consent
- Errors or omissions resulting in dismissal of a client’s case
- Missing statute of limitations
- Misappropriation of client funds
- Poorly written legal documents - especially property settlement agreements in divorce cases
- Not responding to discovery
- Breach of contract
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Not designating an expert witness
- Breach of attorney-client privilege
- Abandonment of a client’s matter or lack of due diligence
- Exerting undue influence adverse to the client’s interest
- Improper legal advice
- Malicious or frivolous litigation
- Excessive litigation at the client's expense
- Obstruction of justice
- Presenting false evidence
- Malfeasance or dishonesty
- Negligence (missed deadlines, use of wrong forms, failure to appear, failure to investigate the facts or the law)
- Misrepresentation or mishandling of your claim
- Acting in the best interests of the lawyer, and not the client’s best interests
- Improperly advising you to accept an insufficient settlement
- Endangering your case through reckless behavior
- Improper billing practices or billing fraud
- Failure to obtain a client’s consent
- Inadequate investigations
- Failure to know the law
- Did your lawyer abandon your case just before the trial or the expiration of the statute of limitations?
There are a number of reasons why a client may choose to sue the prior attorney for malpractice. First of all, you need to figure out exactly what your prior attorney did to facilitate a malpractice suit. There are three basic categories to consider: •social security/disability •breach of fiduciary duty; •breach of contract; and •negligence. We will discuss these categories in detail so you will know whether or not you may have a legal malpractice claim.
1. Negligence. An attorney must act in a way that is considered to be reasonably competent. If your attorney fails to do this while working on your case, this can lead to a valid legal malpractice claim. For example, if your attorney takes your case and then fails to follow through and your case is dismissed, then this could be considered negligence. Other negligent conduct includes failure to prepare for trial, failure to meet deadlines, and failure to follow court orders.
2. Breach of Fiduciary Duty. The term “fiduciary duty” relates to the attorney’s commitment to act according to your best interests. As part of this duty, the attorney must act in your best interests even though it may cause damage to your attorney. Its important to remember that fiduciary duty is only owed if an attorney-client relationship exists. Some examples of a breach of the fiduciary duty include revealing confidential information without your permission, failing to disclose conflicts of interest, failing to consult with you about settlement offers, withholding or lying about crucial case information, representing your opponent, and gaining financially if you lose the case.
3. Breach of Contract. In order to create a valid cause of action for malpractice, you will need to prove that the breach of contract was the reason for your losing your case or suffering damages. This means that you will need to prove that you would have otherwise won the case if the attorney had done his job properly and not breached the contract.
The chances are that when you use your hard-earned money to hire a lawyer, you will do so in good faith, with the expectation that your case will be treated with the utmost respect and care. Unfortunately, some people find what they assumed to be professional legal representation, only to be neglected, improperly treated, or misrepresented by their attorney. If you become a victim of legal malpractice, your life could be impacted in a number of different ways resulting in an adverse impact on your life.
Damages in a legal malpractice claim. In a civil lawsuit, damages are money the prior lawyer may be ordered to pay as compensation for the client’s loss or injury. Typically, the damages in a legal malpractice lawsuit will be based on what the client would have recovered in the original case if the prior lawyer had not been negligent. Some basic guidelines concerning damages in legal malpractice cases are:
- If you would have won compensatory damages, that is money that pays you for your loss, but because of your lawyer’s negligence caused you to lose your case, then you may be able to recover damages that you would have recovered in the original lawsuit.
- Sometimes the juries award punitive damages to the client. Punitive damages may be awarded when the attorney is found to have acted with gross negligence or recklessness.
- You may be able to recover the expenses and legal fees that you have incurred as a result of your lawyer’s negligence.
- You may also be able to recover the value of lost property if the legal malpractice caused the loss of property.
Sometimes the law firm’s associates, secretaries or law clerks who work with the attorneys may be in charge of important matters. When these employees fail to follow through, serious implications may arise. The attorney who employs these workers is ultimately responsible for their actions within the course and scope of their employment. If the attorney is part of a firm, the firm may be held responsible.
If you believe you’ve been injured by your lawyer’s professional negligence, the legal malpractice attorneys of Paul Snow are here for you. We understand this can be a difficult time in your life and that you feel wronged. We will review the facts of your case, explain your rights, and advise you about how to proceed. Careless mistakes can happen, but professional misconduct and attorney negligence can arise within any type of legal work, from divorce, personal injury, real estate, to medical malpractice.
Paul Snow is dedicated to helping you. We have extensive knowledge in legal malpractice law. Fortunately, reliable and trustworthy attorneys do exist and can offer invaluable help when it comes to achieving the justice that you deserve.
For prompt, personal, professional, and hands-on legal representation with results you deserve, or want to learn more about legal malpractice, contact Paul Snow via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (601) 969-1977 for a free confidential consultation. Click here to fill out a form to let us know some information about your case.
Click here to read about 8 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting An Accident Lawyer.