Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer acts negligently, disregarding their professions’ rules of conduct. Attorneys must adhere to the rules and guidelines of their profession.
If your lawyer broke your contract agreement or otherwise harmed your case, you may be a victim of legal malpractice.
What happens when an attorney disregards the rules of conduct?
The State Bar of California’s rules of professional conduct are intended to protect the public and promote ethical legal practice. While most attorneys follow practice standards and regulations, a few may not. The U.S. Constitution entitles all citizens to adequate legal counsel.
Dissatisfaction with your attorney or the outcome of your case may or may not constitute a malpractice claim. To win a malpractice case, you must prove that your lawyer:
- Had a duty to represent you
- Acted carelessly or negligently
- Harmed your case
- Caused financial damages
You must have enough evidence to prove that your attorney’s negligence constitutes a malpractice claim. If you cannot prove all four elements, you will likely lose your case.
Legal malpractice may entitle you to compensation for lost wages. Depending on the level of misconduct, your attorney may face license suspension or disbarment.
Examples of legal malpractice
Proof that your attorney did not file legal documentation before the deadline, causing a judge to dismiss your case, may provide you with a strong malpractice case.
Unfortunately, attorneys may use client funds for their benefit instead of using the money to better the client’s case. If your lawyer stole your money, they will likely be found guilty of malpractice. Remember that evidence of your attorney’s wrongdoing is crucial in legal malpractice suits.