When you hire an attorney to help you handle a civil case or respond to criminal charges, you expect them to act in your best interests and to provide you with accurate and reliable guidance. Sadly, some attorneys fail in their most basic obligations to their clients, possibly resulting in poor outcomes to their cases.
Legal malpractice takes many forms and can involve anything from a conflict of interest to substance abuse. If your lawyer made any of the three major mistakes below and you believe it affected the outcome of your case, you may be in a position to take action to hold them accountable.
They failed to show up for a court date or hearing
Whether you are in civil court or criminal court, you need your attorney present to help you navigate hearings and communicate effectively with other legal professionals, like the prosecutor or the attorney for the other party in the lawsuit.
If your lawyer failed to show up, it may make you look irresponsible to the judge and other people affiliated with the courts, which could impact how they ultimately rule in your case. If it is a criminal case and you relied on your attorney to be present so you did not show up, your attorney’s failure could even result in your arrest for failing to appear in court.
They took on a case in an area where they didn’t know the law or precedent
Attorneys practice law by learning the legal code and interpreting previous court rulings that have an impact on the rights of their clients. Unfortunately, some attorneys will dabble by taking a case in an area of law where they have no experience and very little knowledge.
Attorneys unfamiliar with family law or intellectual property rights could make major mistakes that negatively affect the outcome of your court case. You should be able to depend on your attorney to know the law and to help you interpret it appropriately given your situation.
They didn’t adequately prepare before your day in court
Being a successful attorney involves a combination of practical knowledge and communication skills. Some lawyers believe that they are such excellent speakers that they don’t have to spend time preparing before they go to court.
While that may work in many of their cases, occasionally, they may fail in their attempts at unprepared oration, leaving their clients inadequately represented and negatively impacting the outcome of the case.
Those who lose a civil case or who have to appeal a conviction because their attorney made a major mistake will likely suffer consequences from the legal malpractice they endure for years. Taking legal action against the attorney whose legal malpractice affected your life can compensate you and hold that lawyer responsible for their failings.