Everyone is familiar with the concept of malpractice where a doctor makes a misdiagnosis, fails to properly treat a condition, or commits a surgical error. However, did you know that lawyers can also be sued for malpractice if the attorney fails to provide appropriate legal representation to a client?
Legal malpractice claims arise from a variety of circumstances, but some of the most frequent include:
• Missing a Deadline: Attorneys frequently fail to file a lawsuit within the time required by law. The failure to meet those deadlines will be fatal to the client’s claim. Similarly, attorneys miss deadlines set by courts, often to the peril of their clients.
• Conflicts of Interest: An attorney should never put his/her interest or the interests of his/her past or present clients before those of the client he is currently representing in a particular dispute. Divided loyalties can lead to catastrophic results.
• Failing to Properly Inform: Clients depend on attorneys to provide the information needed to make prudent decisions. Failure to adequately inform clients – or worse, to lie to a client – can have disastrous consequences.
• Inadequate Discovery or Preparation: A failure to adequately investigate and develop evidence can lead to tragic outcomes. So can a failure to competently draft important documents, or adequately prepare for trial.
• Failure to Know or Appropriately Apply the Law: Attorneys are required to know and understand the laws governing a client’s case. Attorneys should never attempt to practice in an area of law in which they have no knowledge or experience without obtaining the client’s informed consent.
This is not an exhaustive list. Evaluating whether your attorney committed legal malpractice requires careful consideration of your situation. Wuliger & Wuliger has a long history of successfully representing clients who have been wronged by their attorneys. Please call us at (216) 781-7777.