Your lawyer is your legal representative. They speak on your behalf and have the authority to take action in your stead. You rely on their expertise and communication skills when going to mediation sessions, attending court or handling your legal issues.
Regardless of whether your lawyer is in private practice or a public defender, they have an obligation to provide you with adequate counsel. If a lawyer fails in their basic duties to a client, they may have committed legal malpractice.
You depend on your lawyer to be in court
Inadequate counsel and negligence on the part of your lawyer could cost you thousands of dollars or even your freedom. If you end up alone in court, your case could struggle. Judges may or may not be willing to issue a continuance. If your lawyer was supposed to show up on your behalf instead of you, you might even wind up with a warrant out for your arrest over failure to appear.
It’s reasonable to expect a certain level of professionalism from your lawyer. You should be able to rely on them to arrive on time in court and other critical meetings. Holding someone professionally accountable for their failings can be a reasonable step in certain circumstances.
Make sure you document the failings as they occur
In order to file a legal malpractice claim, you need grounds and proof of the impact on your life. To demonstrate negligence or professional failings to the court in the future, you will need details and facts — not just generic statements about inadequate counsel.
Keeping detailed records about your lawyer’s failure to appear will make it easier for you to evaluate with another attorney whether or not you have a case for legal malpractice.