In many ways, lawyers are a lot like doctors. They go through substantially more schooling and testing than many other professionals because of the complexity of their work. People often place their total trust in the lawyers and doctors, and both of these groups of professionals can potentially cause irreversible harm to their clients or patients if they are negligent while providing services or if they don’t act in the best interest of the people who hire them.
Due to that trust and the ability to cause such extreme damage, legal professionals are like medical professionals in another noteworthy way. Namely, they can get held accountable for malpractice in a court of law if they make serious mistakes, breaches of ethics or negligent decisions that have significant consequences for their clients.
What constitutes legal malpractice?
Legal malpractice comes in multiple different forms. The first and most obvious involves conflicts of interest. When an attorney puts their own needs or desires ahead of what would be best for their clients, they violate their duty to their clients and open themselves up to legal and ethical claims against their practice.
However, not all legal malpractice stems from an intent to do harm. Attorneys can also face malpractice allegations if they are negligent in the advice or representation that they provide to their clients. Failing to file all of the necessary paperwork in a timely manner or not warning a client of an upcoming statute of limitations would both be examples of negligence.
Inadequate knowledge or skill could also be grounds for a malpractice claim. If an attorney takes a case in an area of law where they don’t know state law and don’t have a firm knowledge of legal precedent, they may not do an adequate job of advising and representing their client.
Legal malpractice can drastically affect your life
From a significant negative judgment to a conviction that would not have occurred with adequate legal representation, there are many ways in which legal malpractice could impact your life, your finances and your future.
Bringing a legal malpractice claim against an attorney who wasn’t prompt, diligent and competent when representing you can allow you an opportunity to hold them accountable for their poor performance and also give you an opportunity to seek compensation for the impact of their mistakes on your life.