When you hire an attorney, he has a duty to act as a reasonable attorney would, to not make careless mistakes, to follow the rules of professional conduct for lawyers, and to not breach any contracts or other agreements you have signed. If an attorney fails to do any of these things, it could cause you injury, such as losing your case in court or not receiving a proper settlement out of court. If you suffer such an injury due to an attorney’s mistake, you may be able to hold him liable for those mistakes in a separate court action called a legal malpractice suit. There are several common lawyer mistakes that constitute grounds for such a legal malpractice suit.
Some deadlines for court cases are absolute. Legal claims have statute of limitations, or the maximum amount of time after an event within which you are allowed to file a lawsuit based on that event. For example, the statute of limitations on a car accident or other personal injury case in California is two years. If your lawyer waits until after two years have passed, you will not be able to file a personal injury claim or recover for your injuries. Other important deadlines include time limitations to file motions and appeal deadlines. By hiring an attorney, you are trusting them to timely file your case and all necessary documents, and missing a deadline can cost you your entire case.
Lack of Professionalism
Every lawyer must abide by the rules of professional conduct, which ensure attorney-client confidentiality and appropriate attorney demeanor, and work to avoid any conflict of interest. For example, attorneys have a duty to keep information that they learn regarding their client through the course of representation client. In addition, there are rules that prevent attorneys from acting in their own self-interest in situations where they owe their client a fiduciary duty. The ethical rules even go so far as to place limitations on attorneys on how and when an attorney may become physically involved with a client. Another common example of a limitation placed on attorney conduct is the rule that an attorney cannot draft a will that names the attorney as a beneficiary. Any breach of these duties may be sufficient for a party injured by the breach to recover through a legal malpractice lawsuit.
Other common grounds for legal malpractice suits include:
- Making substantive legal errors
- Inadequate documentation of work
- Excessive or fraudulent client billing
- Breach of contract or fiduciary duty, such as an attorney using confidential information to benefit himself or herself at the expense of a client.
Contact Makarem & Associates for a free consultation
If you have hired an attorney who has made any of these mistakes and caused you damage, it is important to contact an experienced legal malpractice attorney to help you hold him responsible for his errors. The law office of Makarem & Associates has experienced and dedicated legal malpractice lawyers ready and available to help you. Do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation at 310.312.0299 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.