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What if lawyers make mistakes in court or when advising clients?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Legal Malpractice |

People who hire lawyers generally expect them to be experts in their area of practice. After all, attorneys go through years of school and must pass the state bar exam to practice law. Unfortunately, not every licensed attorney provides the same standard of representation.

Even lawyers who often provide adequate representation can sometimes fail their clients in egregious manners. After an unfavorable outcome for their legal matter, disappointed clients may come to realize that their attorney was largely responsible for that outcome. Sometimes, the poor professional performance of an attorney could constitute legal malpractice. Affected clients can assert that they provided ineffective assistance of counsel and could file a civil lawsuit accordingly.

What is ineffective assistance of counsel?

People paying for the services of licensed attorneys should be able to trust in that lawyer’s competence. Not having adequate knowledge of a specific area of the law means that a lawyer may not be able to take on a particular case.

If they try to represent a client anyway, they could provide insufficient representation. A lawyer may be unfamiliar with the minutiae of certain state statutes or how the courts have previously ruled in similar cases. They may therefore give their clients bad advice or may fail to properly address the legal matter at hand.

Other times, the lawyer may have the appropriate theoretical knowledge but might fail to properly use that knowledge during court proceedings. The failure to object to inappropriate conduct or to prepare proper evidence to support a position could constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.

If the average lawyer who practices the same type of law could easily recognize the shortcomings of the attorney’s advice or representation in court, then there may be reason to question whether they provided their clients with the necessary support during their legal matter. In criminal cases, ineffective assistance of counsel can be grounds for an appeal. The courts readily acknowledge that a lawyer’s failings might mean a defendant did not receive a fair trial.

Taking legal action against a lawyer who caused harm to clients through unprofessional behavior or incompetence can help their frustrated clients. A discussion about the legal issue and the perceived failings of the lawyer with a firm experienced in legal malpractice matters can help people clarify whether they may have grounds for a legal malpractice lawsuit.