When New York residents encounter a legal problem, they turn to an attorney for help. They expect him or her to diligently work on the case and provide the best possible representation. If individuals question whether they are receiving the service they expect, they may begin to wonder if the attorney has committed legal malpractice.
The first step would be to discuss those concerns with the attorney. If he or she fails to provide a plausible and reasonable explanation why work has stalled on the case, an individual may request a copy of the case file. A review of it could provide information regarding the attorney's progress or the lack thereof. If the client has fired the attorney, obtaining a copy of the file could prove challenging. If a new attorney has been hired, he or she will likely be able to obtain the file on the client's behalf.
Doing some legal research may make it clear whether the former attorney failed to provide the appropriate service. A new attorney could review the file and help determine whether that was the case. An individual has the right to get a second opinion, which would be a good idea since many people do not understand enough about the law to make that determination alone.
If it becomes clear that the first, and perhaps former, attorney failed to adequately work on the case, the client may have reasonable grounds for a legal malpractice claim. In order to know for sure, he or she may want to involve another New York attorney who can provide an experienced opinion regarding the progress of the case. If it turns out that the first attorney did fail in his or her duty to the client, making a formal claim could be the appropriate next step.