When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a civil or criminal manner, you expect them to act in your best interests. You don’t know the law, so you depend on them to explain both state code and important court precedent, which involves interpretations of existing laws in the form of previous judgments.
While most lawyers do their best to put their experience and education to work for their clients, some fail their clients in a way that negatively affects their rights under the law and the outcome of their cases. The three behaviors below could all lead to legal malpractice claims by those who received substandard representation from a lawyer.
Practicing an area of law they do not know well
Some lawyers dabble in many different areas of law and decide to take on cases that require in-depth expertise that they do not have. When these attorneys fail to bring in proper outside support, they may do a disservice to their clients.
A lawyer who doesn’t know the relevant legal code and precedent could give someone bad advice. The more egregious an attorney’s failings were in terms of their understanding of the law, the stronger the case may be for the clients dissatisfied with their representation.
Mismanaging your retainer
There are numerous rules that govern how lawyers bill their clients. From inflating how much time they charge you for to commingling your retainer with their practice’s finances, there are many forms of financial misconduct that might constitute legal malpractice. Financial claims related to billing and retainers are some of the most common forms of legal malpractice.
Failing to disclose a conflict of interests
Those involved in a legal matter may not always remain as neutral or fully on the side of a client as they should. A lawyer whose spouse works at the company you intended to sue or who has a personal history with the other party may not give you the best advice and support. They may fail to put your needs first. When you discover that your lawyer had a significant conflict of interest that could be grounds for a legal malpractice claim.
Talking with another attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for a legal malpractice claim that could help compensate you for the losses you suffered because of unprofessional or inadequate representation.