Most California attorneys are honorable people who do their best to help their clients get the best representation possible. But unfortunately, some attorneys engage in malpractice or, rather, legal misconduct. When that happens, their clients can sue them for malpractice, but not all lawsuits have merit.
Understanding legal malpractice
All attorneys in California have a fiduciary duty to their clients, a legal term that means they must put their client’s interests first. If an attorney breaches that burden by acting negligently or intentionally harming their client, then the client can sue that attorney for legal malpractice.
Common ways an attorney can commit malpractice
Some too many lawyers rush into lawsuits only to discover later that the statute of limitations has passed or that their client does not have the standing to sue. This can happen when an attorney fails to properly investigate a case before filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, this often results in the client wasting time and money on a case that they should have never filed in the first place.
An attorney can also commit malpractice by mishandling or failing to communicate properly with their client. This often happens when an attorney does not promptly return phone calls or emails. It can also occur when an attorney fails to inform their client of essential developments in their case.
Moreover, lawyers can sometimes be too busy to devote enough time and resources to a case. For example, when a lawyer takes on too many cases at once or fails to delegate work to others in their firm, it would be impossible for them to handle their client’s case with the devotion it deserves.
Consequences of legal malpractice
If the court finds an attorney guilty of malpractice, they will have to pay damages to their client. In addition, the State Bar of California may also discipline them by suspending or revoking their license to practice law.
It is important to remember that not all attorney-client relationships succeed. Sometimes, cases are just tricky, and no amount of skill or effort on the attorney’s part can change the outcome. However, you have the right to get the best representation possible, and if you feel like you have not received that, you may have a legal malpractice case.