Nobody’s perfect, but at the same time, when you hire a lawyer, you hope the lawyer is trustworthy, knowledgeable and diligent in the matters of the law. Lawyers often make it a practice to incorporate the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct into their daily work, ensuring you receive reliable, good legal care. However, there are times when a legal malpractice lawsuit is warranted.
Do you have a case?
Filing a legal malpractice lawsuit is an expensive endeavor. The individual considering moving forward is most likely already in a financially compromised position because of litigation from the original case.
In most situations, you will need to hire another lawyer to help prove the lawyer’s negligence. Therefore, it is important to make sure there is a strong chance the legal malpractice lawsuit will be successful before moving forward.
Questions to ask before filing a legal malpractice lawsuit
- Will the court be in agreement that you would have succeeded in your case if your lawyer had been following the Rules of Professional Conduct?
- Has he or she made a serious mistake, for example, missing an important deadline?
- Did the action cause you harm (i.e., did you lose money due to his actions)?
Red flags you can look for immediately
If your lawyer appears unorganized, this could be an issue. Although when you hire a lawyer, it is not your job to be the lawyer, keep up with the activity required for your case to succeed, including important dates and deadlines. If your attorney does not appear to be keeping complete records and track of timetables, be concerned.
If you haven’t spoken with your lawyer in quite a while, this is cause for concern. While working for a client, a lawyer should consistently communicate, whether it is good news or bad, for you to know (and see) the litigation moves forward smoothly. And this should be direct communication.
Is your lawyer doing work that is outside of his expertise? If you need a tax lawyer, hire a tax lawyer, not a lawyer specializing in something else. If you want to stay at the law firm you selected, ask for someone there who practices in the area where you need assistance.
Is your lawyer honest? If your lawyer made an error in your case, he should be upfront and tell you. If you learn he hid something from you, you must speak up and take action to ensure your case is safe.
Your legal case may not have the outcome you hope for, but your attorney must have your interests front and center at all times. If you are currently concerned about your lawyer’s work, make sure you advocate in your own interest now.
If you or someone you know feels their case is being mishandled and need more information about legal malpractice, contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC here or at 202-463-1999.
Both an Emory School of Law graduate and MBA graduate of Goizueta Business School at Emory, Chris Nace focuses his practice on areas of medical malpractice, drug and product liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination and other negligence and personal injury matters.