Schwartz & Ponterio, PLLC holds lawyers responsible for legal malpractice.

Can you claim malpractice if your attorney was stoned?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2022 | Legal Malpractice

The seemingly upstanding member of the legal profession you hired to represent you seemed to be doing a good job. Then they lost your case.

When you think back, you remember that they acted a little weirdly on the final day in court. Now you suspect they may have been high on marijuana. Can you claim legal malpractice?

Firstly, no attorney will win every case

People typically want to bring a legal malpractice claim when they lose. Yet even the best lawyers will lose from time to time.

Secondly, attorneys are allowed to smoke marijuana like everyone else

New York has legalized marijuana use for adults. The New York Bar ruled that attorneys have as much right to do this in their free time as anyone else, provided, of course, they comply with the law when doing so.

You have no more right to claim legal malpractice because an attorney smoked pot last night than because they watched a certain show on Netflix.

When you may be able to claim is if what they were doing affected their ability to do their job

If your attorney was still under the influence of marijuana when representing you in court, you might be able to claim that it limited their ability to do their job properly.

If they turned up utterly unprepared because they had been up all night, whether smoking weed, watching Netflix or something else, you may again be able to claim. It’s not what they were doing that matters, but that they didn’t do the research needed to give you a good shot at winning your case.

Legal malpractice cases can be complex. Get help to understand more.