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“Overwork” the leading cause of legal malpractice suits

Hiring a New York attorney to represent you involves a significant investment. When you hire a lawyer, you expect this person to prioritize your case, work it diligently and otherwise give you your strongest shot at a successful outcome. When your lawyer drops the ball because his or her plate is too full and you suffer a loss because of it, you may wish to try to hold him or her accountable.

Per the American Bar Association, overwork is now the most common reason clients file legal malpractice suits against their attorneys. What does “overwork” mean, exactly?

Defining overwork

In simple terms, an attorney overworks when he or she takes on more cases or work than that lawyer is capable of handling. Legal malpractice often occurs in situations where attorneys have too much work because certain types of oversights and errors become more common.

Understanding risks that arise when attorneys have too much work

If your lawyer has too much work, he or she may fail to perform due diligence, which may have a substantial impact on the outcome of your case. When your attorney has too much work on his or her plate, it may also impact responsiveness, making it difficult for you to contact your lawyer when the need arises. An overworked attorney may also make errors when it comes to identifying and interviewing witnesses, abiding by deadlines and statutes of limitations or failing to appropriately prepare for trial, among other examples.

If your attorney fails you as a result of overwork, you must show that he or she owed you a duty, that he or she breached that duty and that you suffered harm because of it.