Legal malpractice is when an attorney doesn’t perform within the standards or codes of ethics or professional conduct expected by the community. It’s not losing a case, since no case is guaranteed. Instead, it’s when an attorney does something that affected the client negatively as a result of negligence or malicious behavior.
Legal malpractice caused by negligence can be identified by showing how the attorney did not represent you at the level expected. Show how the attorney breached his or her duties to you and how the mistake caused you harm.
There are many different terms to know regarding legal malpractice. Here are two that you should be aware of before you talk to a different attorney about filing a lawsuit.
1. Conflict of Interest
If you are seeking a claim because of a conflict of interest, it means that you believe your attorney did not work in your best interests because he or she was working for the other side of the case as well or had vested interests in the outcome of the case. For example, if your attorney knows the person who allegedly committed a crime but is representing you as a victim, there is a direct conflict of interest. The attorney may feel the need to protect the person accused of the crime despite being your legal representative.
Commingling funds is another serious mistake some attorneys make that lead to malpractice claims. Your attorney should not be combining funds from beneficiaries, employers or clients. If he or she does, then he or she may have breached the fiduciary relationship shared with you.
Legal malpractice can take place obviously or be harder to identify. Among all attorneys, there is a code of ethics, so any attorney can help you identify if those ethics have been violated by someone else.