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What contributes to lawyer malpractice? 3 big mistakes

When you hire a lawyer, you expect that they know what they're doing. You trust them to follow through on what they say. And you rely on them to avoid missteps that could cost you your rights.

When lawyers make mistakes - and you suffer the consequences - it often boils down to these three reasons:

1. Not knowing their limits

According to one source, the leading cause of malpractice involves the law itself - specifically, failing to know the law or apply it correctly. The law is exceedingly complex. As more and more laws are added to the books, and the body of caselaw continually builds, it becomes increasingly challenging to stay on top of the latest developments in a given field, much less multiple areas of law.

That's why lawyers must know their limits. If they take on a case in a new area, they should have a support system in place - mentors or co-counsel, for example - to ensure they can do so with competence.

2. Not sweating the small stuff

It's not just the devil in the details. In the law, everything is in the details. One crucial mistake in handling the details can alter the entire strategy - and the outcome. Missing a filing deadline, for example, can doom even the strongest of cases.

Many lawyers have administrative staff to take care of filing details. However, lawyers themselves are ultimately responsible, as it's on their shoulders to hire and train effective staff.

3. Not doing the legwork

Thorough preparation is the foundation of solid legal work, and due diligence is essential to a successful legal strategy. Whether advising a client on a potential business transaction or suing a negligent party in an injury case, a competent attorney must put in the legwork to gather evidence and understand the facts. Sloppiness can lead to ugly surprises down the road.

Has your lawyer let you down?

If you suspect your attorney has committed legal malpractice, don't hesitate to contact a lawyer who handles these types of cases. You might be entitled to compensation.

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