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The elements of legal malpractice

Attorneys in California and elsewhere have an ethical duty to protect their client’s interests. If your attorney fails to live up to his or her obligations, it may be possible to file a legal malpractice case. Take a look at some of the elements that you’ll likely need to prove if you hope to obtain a favorable outcome in such a proceeding.

The typical elements of malpractice

Prior to suing an attorney for malpractice, it will be necessary to show that your legal counsel engaged in negligent behavior. To prove that negligence occurred, you will likely need to show that the attorney had a duty to represent you and failed to do so. In addition, negligence would generally only occur if that failure resulted in a financial loss. If you don’t think that your attorney engaged in negligent behavior, you may be able to show that he or she was in breach of contract.

Questionable actions aren’t always negligent

If your attorney knows the attorney who is representing the other party in the case, it doesn’t necessarily cause a conflict of interest. Generally speaking, conflicts of interest only occur if opposing attorneys are family members. Furthermore, failing to return a phone call or email in a timely manner isn’t necessarily malpractice either. In most cases, you’ll need to prove that an attorney’s error directly led to losing a case or losing out on a favorable settlement.

A lawsuit isn’t always the answer

Even if your legal representative engaged in negligent behavior, it may not be worth your time and money to file a lawsuit. This is because the cost of a malpractice case may cost more than you’re entitled to. In such a scenario, it might be better to simply work with a new attorney.

An attorney may be able to help you show that your former legal representative engaged in some form of legal malpractice. If a claim is successful, you might be entitled to compensation for attorney fees and other damages as allowed by law.

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He actually persuaded me not to settle because he believed that we had a great case. So we took the case to trial and he fought like crazy for me. And we won! It was a really good experience —well, as much as it can be for a lawsuit — and I’m very happy I went with them. I’ve been really blessed to have him as my attorney, so I recommend him whenever I can.”

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He actually persuaded me not to settle because he believed that we had a great case. So we took the case to trial and he fought like crazy for me. And we won! It was a really good experience —well, as much as it can be for a lawsuit — and I’m very happy I went with them. I’ve been really blessed to have him as my attorney, so I recommend him whenever I can.”

— Yelp.com review by Daniel M.

See What Other Clients Say

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He actually persuaded me not to settle because he believed that we had a great case. So we took the case to trial and he fought like crazy for me. And we won! It was a really good experience —well, as much as it can be for a lawsuit — and I’m very happy I went with them. I’ve been really blessed to have him as my attorney, so I recommend him whenever I can.”

— Yelp.com review by Daniel M.

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