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Is it legal malpractice for an attorney to use marijuana?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Legal Malpractice |

When you hire a lawyer to work your case, you expect them to give it their all. You expect them to turn up for your big day in court at their best.

If they turn up seeming spaced out, you would understandably be unhappy. If they then proceed to lose your case, you might wonder what you can do about it.

Smoking pot is legal for adults in Colorado if they abide by certain restrictions. Yet no professional should let it affect their work. You would no more accept your attorney turning up stoned to work than you would your child’s woodwork teacher turning up drunk.

Can lawyers drink or smoke weed?

New York’s state bar just made it clear that its attorneys can use marijuana if doing so legally. The Colorado Supreme Court considered the same question back in 2014. They agreed with the Colorado State Bar that if the use is legal, then merely using it is not unprofessional conduct.

So you cannot file a legal malpractice lawsuit against an attorney who lost you the case just because they use marijuana. It’s the same as how you would not consider filing a lawsuit against them because you saw them having a beer in a bar once.

What if marijuana affected their work?

That is what you would have to prove to win a legal malpractice case. You would have to show that it affected their ability to do the job you were paying them for. If you can prove they were stoned in court or have evidence of them smoking a joint around the back of the courtroom before entering to represent you, you might succeed.

Finding out more about legal malpractice laws can help you determine if you have a valid case.