Legal malpractice is, at its core, a problem that happens when an attorney does not do their job and causes an error that harms the client. Attorneys are held to a high standard and do need to follow specific rules of ethical and professional conduct. If they do not meet the standards of the legal community, then they could be sued by their clients and held liable for legal malpractice.
In most situations, people choose to pursue a claim for legal malpractice when an attorney:
- Violates the contract
- Is negligent with the case
- Violates the America Bar Association’s conduct rules
Remember that an attorney has the responsibility to represent you competently. If they make a mistake that harms you and results in your losing money, then you may be able to pursue a claim against them.
Is suing the only option when legal malpractice has taken place?
Suing is not the only option if you believe legal malpractice has taken place. There are some alternatives. For example, if you believe your attorney has violated the ABA’s rules of conduct but didn’t affect your case financially, then you may want to look into working with a different attorney. You can also report the attorney to the state disciplinary board.
Your new attorney may also be able to help you negotiate with the past attorney for damages or a settlement outside court if you let them know that you intend to sue. Depending on the situation, there may be enough evidence and supporting documentation for the other party to want to settle to avoid a public trial.
It can be difficult to prove legal malpractice took place, because you will need to show that the attorney didn’t work at the standard that is expected in the legal community. You’ll have to show that they didn’t do all they should have to protect you or help you win your case. If you have no financial losses, you may not be able to pursue a claim, so that’s something that your new attorney will need to help you show. Putting together a solid case is a must if you want to pursue compensation.