Gloria Allred may not be a household name, but many are familiar with her work. The attorney has represented high-profile cases, including defamation, sexual assault and discrimination lawsuits against celebrities like Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. Last month, a former client filed suit against her for legal malpractice and fraud, alleging that she didn't follow through with promised counsel, as well as failure to disclose a conflict of interest.
In representing a TV weatherman's case against CBS, the suit alleges that Allred failed to disclose her own negotiations for a television show with the network. It also claims that witnesses were not interviewed, despite Allred's claims. The weatherman was ordered to pay $800,000 in legal fees, which he claims are due to Allred's negligence.
What constitutes legal malpractice?
When handling personal matters during stressful times of a client's life, there are charged emotions. Losing a case itself is not grounds for a malpractice claim. Instead, a lawyer must fail to provide essential services.
Some common issues include:
- Missing deadlines
- Filing incorrect paperwork
- Poor communication
- Conflicts of interest
- Improper investigation
- Poor documentation of service provided
Frivolous or fact?
As with any legal case, evidence is key. For Allred's case, the filing of the lawsuit specifically mentions a failure to investigate. In reviewing the case, it will be examined if the claims are frivolous--filed out of anger about losing the original case--or if the facts reflect that Allred did not perform reasonable inquiry for her client.
If you've ever hired a lawyer, it means you were in a dire situation and you needed help. A lawyer requires your trust and costs a significant amount of money. Anytime you make this investment, you're expecting professional work. Reasonable inquiry is fundamental to legal counsel, as defined by the American Bar Association.
After receiving subpar legal counsel, it can be difficult to seek help from another attorney. Establishing trust and open communication is essential. Speaking about your experience with a legal malpractice attorney is the first step toward resolution. It will build trust and help you to understand your options under the law, allowing you move forward after an unfortunate situation.