When you hire an attorney, you are putting your trust in them. You expect that they will work to help you through a difficult situation, whatever that may be. Discovering that they did not have your best interests at heart can leave you feeling helpless and frustrated.
Your attorney is meant to be your defender. If they act in a way that is detrimental to you or your case, you may have a legal malpractice claim.
Five types of legal malpractice
These are the most common types of legal malpractice.
- Conflict of interest: If your attorney is representing you in a lawsuit, they must not have ties to the company or person that you are suing. For example, if your attorney’s sister is the owner of company XYZ and you are suing XYZ, your lawyer must recuse themselves from the case.
- Misappropriation of funds: Any money that you give to your lawyer, such as a retainer, must be used to work on your case. If your attorney mixes your funds with their personal funds, that is misappropriation.
- Missed deadlines: Missing a court-appointed deadline can be detrimental to your case. If your attorney is not keeping up with important deadlines, your case could be dismissed.
- Unauthorized settlements: Your approval is needed for any settlements or agreements that are negotiated between the prosecution and the defense. If your attorney accepts (or declines) a settlement without your consent, you may have a case for legal malpractice.
- Lack of communication: If your attorney doesn’t keep you informed about your case, or if they don’t return your calls, this could be a case of legal malpractice.
When it comes to legal malpractice, the burden of proof is on you, the client. Contact an experienced legal guide to discuss your options.