Attorneys should be held to the highest possible standard in every case they work. With large sums of money on the line, from high-stake business interests to multi-million dollar settlements, your lawyer needs to serve your best interest.
Too often, attorneys do not uphold their duties. In these instances, the victims of misrepresentation deserve to bring a case against their attorney for legal malpractice, and understanding the different ways an attorney could victimize you is the first step to taking action.
Types of legal malpractice cases
A list of the most common legal malpractice cases compiled by the American Bar Association is long and varied. It shows that there are multiple ways an attorney can abuse his or her role or act negligently. The five most common are:
- Failure to know or apply the law
- Planning or strategy error
- Inadequate discovery of facts
- Failure to file documents
- Failure to calendar properly
These violations include a range of issues from clerical errors like missing deadlines or failing to file documents to a misunderstanding of the law or inability to grasp legal principles.
It is important to note that malicious intent is not required to pursue legal malpractice. Your attorney should understand the legal principles of your case. Many lawsuits are complex, but that doesn’t excuse an attorney for misunderstanding or misapplying the law.
Fee disputes and billing issues
Disputes over fees and overbilling also commonly lead to legal malpractice lawsuits. While a good attorney is expensive, you should not be overcharged for legal services.
Overbilling or fee issues are often subtle, and firms employ a variety of tactics to hide fees such as inflating the time spent on a given matter or billing for unnecessary tasks.
Given the subtlety of many legal malpractice cases, it is important to seek guidance to hold your attorney accountable if you have any concerns about how they are handling your case.