In mid-May, a judge ruled that a law firm must head to trial in a legal malpractice matter that it had – very understandably – been pushing back against. Why understandably? At present, the plaintiff in the case is demanding $636 million in damages from the firm. When a law firm is potentially facing a judgment that will leave it liable for hundreds of millions of dollars, it is likely going to push back as hard as it can.
This is one of the many reasons why those who have experienced legal malpractice need to seek sound legal guidance as proactively as they can. Attorneys – and the firms that employ them – are likely to push back hard against any accusations that they have done their clients wrong and against demands to pay significant damages to those whom they have harmed.
What is going on?
The lawsuit in question involves a firm that allegedly cost a former client a significantly valuable stake in a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund. Legal malpractice manifests in a number of different ways, from failing to make required appearances to failures to disclose conflicts of interest. In this case, the matter at issue is a contract provision that the firm drafted. The provision essentially allowed the manager of a partnership to oust the client from a fund that the client co-founded.
The former client alleges that the firm subjected him to a “botched cut-and-paste” job concerning his partnership agreement. Among the various pieces of evidence offered is a handwritten note from one of the partners at the firm who drew brackets around a key provision of the contract and wrote an expletive next to it, allegedly confirming that an egregious mistake had been made.
Legal malpractice isn’t always easy to confirm. However, seeking legal guidance can lead to discovery efforts, which may lead to the production of evidence in a former client’s favor.