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

Legal malpractice related to venue concerns

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Legal Malpractice

Legal malpractice can arise from a variety of issues, including venue selection. The venue, or the location where a case is heard, can significantly impact the outcome of a legal matter. When an attorney selects an improper or disadvantageous venue, it can lead to severe consequences for the client and may constitute legal malpractice. 

Venue selection is not just a formality; it is a strategic decision that can influence the entire course of litigation. Different venues have varying laws, procedural rules and jury pools, all of which can affect the likelihood of a party’s success. For instance, a case might fare better in a venue with a history of favorable rulings for certain types of claims, or where the local laws are more advantageous to a client’s position. Conversely, choosing a venue that is inconvenient for key witnesses or that is known for its harsh rulings against similar cases can be detrimental.

How venue concerns could lead to legal malpractice

One of the most common forms of malpractice related to venue concerns is an attorney’s failure to thoroughly research and choose the appropriate venue. This could mean overlooking statutory requirements about where a case should be filed or ignoring strategic advantages offered by alternative venues.

Attorneys are obligated to act in the best interest of their clients. When they choose a venue that is less favorable or convenient for their own benefit, such as for ease of travel or familiarity with the local court, they breach this duty. This, in and of itself, is not malpractice. But if a selection of an unfavorable venue based on personal interest leads to a costly outcome for the client, then that client may have grounds to hold their attorney accountable. 

Finally, selecting the wrong venue can lead to missed deadlines or jurisdictional challenges. If a case is dismissed because it was filed in the wrong venue, the client may lose their right to pursue the claim altogether. This can cause significant harm, including financial loss and emotional distress.

Venue affects the application of law, access to evidence and jury composition. An improper venue can lead to unfavorable legal interpretations, difficulty in gathering necessary evidence and a jury that may not be sympathetic to the client’s case. As a result, legal malpractice related to venue concerns is often an actionable matter.