Sometimes you may not be sure if your suspicions that your attorney has improperly handled your case are correct. This can be particularly upsetting if you are in the middle of a sensitive issue, such as a case involving sexual harassment law or divorce law. If you feel like you can’t trust your lawyer, this will lead you to feel anxious about talking to them and may feel you want to change lawyers. In many cases, your circumstances may fall into a grey area.
If you aren’t well-versed on legal malpractice matters, then you’ll want to consult with a lawyer who specializes in this field. They’ll go through a series of questions with you and determine whether you have a strong enough case on your hands to file a claim.
Here are some of the most common cases of lawyers failing to carry out their duties which result in legal malpractice.
Ignorance of The Law
When you hire a lawyer’s services, you expect them to have the knowledge to represent you in court. When you find yourself with a lawyer who doesn’t only have knowledge on the law but fails to apply it, then this is blatant negligence.
Your new lawyer will be able to determine and pinpoint each instance of the negligent attorney failing to carry out their duties as a result of failing to know the law.
When your lawyer is disorganized and incompetent, it can be a catastrophe. Failing to keep essential documents, submit information to the opposing party, or follow up with you about pressing matters is not acceptable.
A good lawyer knows that they should develop a clear strategy which includes important dates in their calendar. There’s no room for mistakes when a client puts their trust in your hands.
In the world of litigation, deadlines are crucial. It’s imperative that your lawyer files paperwork on the exact deadline. Missing a deadline is a critical error which could lead to losing your case all together.
When interviewing lawyers, try to get a feel for how busy their office is. If they seem understaffed and overwhelmed, you should take your business elsewhere. When there’s too much work for too little of staff, mistakes are bound to happen.
Inadequate Fact Discovery
During litigation, the lawyers from both parties are required to investigate and seek facts about the opposing side. As a result, they can uncover valuable information which is relevant to winning the case for their client. Failure to adequately seek and discover crucial information can result in a legal malpractice suit.
An example would be an attorney failing to request a critical witness to take the stand which would have affected the outcome of their clients’ case.
An additional example of inadequate fact discovery would be if a lawyer failed to request critical documentation or inadequately reviewed critical documents resulting in losing their case.
Regardless of the reasons for a lawyer’s mistakes, whether personal reasons or being understaffed, negligence is grounds for claiming legal malpractice.