When you hire an attorney to handle your legal issues, whether you need legal representation for a civil issue or to defend against a potential criminal charge, you entrust your future to the attorney that you hire. You expect your lawyer to understand the law and provide you with accurate and useful guidance about your legal issues.
In some cases, those facing criminal charges may not have much authority in the selection of the attorney involved. Instead, they will have to use a public defender assigned to them. Regardless of the nature of the relationship between you and the attorney, you have rights as the person depending on the lawyer for representation.
Sadly, some lawyers simply don't fulfill their obligations to their clients well. Many issues, from failing to respond to issues in a timely manner to not understanding critical legal precedents or cases that will impact your case could reduce how effective your legal representation actually is. When your lawyer fails to adequately represent you in a manner that has catastrophic consequences for your case, you may have grounds for a claim based on legal malpractice.
What is legal malpractice?
Professional malpractice involves failing to meet basic standards of performance and integrity for the industry in which a professional works. Most people are familiar with the term malpractice as it refers to services provided by a medical professional. However, any licensed professional could ostensibly engage in malpractice.
Attorneys commit legal malpractice when negligence or ignorance results in failing to adequately represent their clients. Legal malpractice could look like failing to file paperwork by a necessary deadline, failing to make appropriate legal arguments based on precedent and case law or allowing a conflict of interest to impact the quality of defense or civil representation that they offered to a client.
Legal malpractice can directly impact your court case
When an attorney doesn't have an adequate knowledge base for the area of law in which you need assistance or when they failed to provide you with appropriate guidance and advice, you could lose a civil court case for find yourself facing conviction for a crime that a competent attorney could have defended you against.
If you believe that your attorney's representation directly contributed to the loss of your court case, that may be grounds for both and appeal and the legal malpractice claim. In order to do so successfully, you will no doubt require legal guidance.
Sitting down with a lawyer may be the last thing you want to do after becoming the victim of legal malpractice. However, an attorney familiar with legal malpractice cases can inform you of your rights under Colorado law and ensure that you can take action to remedy the issues caused by poor legal representation.