How to File a Legal Malpractice Suit Against a Lawyer

Legal Malpractice

Professionals in every industry must operate by a strict set of laws and ethical standards. Whether a police officer, a doctor or a lawyer, no one is above the law. When these professionals are negligent or otherwise fail to follow the guidelines set forth by their profession, there are serious legal repercussions. While cases against police officers and doctors are often highly publicized, lawyers are no exception to this rule. A lawyer who is negligent, does not follow the law or behaves in an unethical manner is guilty of legal malpractice.

What Is Legal Malpractice?

Many people are much more familiar with medical malpractice than they are with legal malpractice. The underlying concept of both is the same, however: a professional failed to abide by or meet required standards of practice. In legal malpractice cases, this means that a person represented by a lawyer suffered harm because of the lawyer’s actions or inactions. To qualify as legal malpractice, there must be proof that the attorney was negligent, failed to uphold their end of a contract or breached their fiduciary duty.

How Do I Know If I’m a Victim of Legal Malpractice?

In order for a lawyer’s behavior to be deemed as legal malpractice in Texas, as well as most jurisdictions, there must be strong evidence that the lawyer made an error or acted in a way that any sensible attorney would not.

Simply losing a case due to an ineffective, yet well-planned strategy does not warrant legal malpractice, nor does failing to take on a case. A victim of legal malpractice must have had an active client/attorney relationship at the time of the incident in question, except in cases of fraud or misrepresentation. Likewise, they must have suffered financial damages that can be directly linked to the lawyer’s negligence or breach of contractual or fiduciary duties. Lastly, victims of legal malpractice must be able to prove that the outcome of their case was altered because of the shortcomings of their lawyer.

For instance, a criminal lawyer represents a client in a civil case despite not fully understanding civil law in the jurisdiction. The client loses the case. The lawyer’s failure to know the law, in this situation, may constitute legal malpractice. Even still, the client must be then be able to show that they would not have lost and suffered damages if their lawyer had better understood civil law.

How Do I File a Suit Against a Lawyer?

If you suspect a current lawyer of behavior that qualifies as malpractice, be sure to document each instance where alleged negligence or errors are being made. This information may be necessary in providing evidence for a legal malpractice case.

To file a legal malpractice suit against a lawyer, it is vital to seek the assistance of a professional legal malpractice attorney in Texas. A consultation can help to determine if there are grounds for a case based on your specific circumstances and the laws of the particular jurisdiction in which the suspected malpractice occurred. From there, the experienced attorney can work with you to determine how to proceed to seek justice and compensation for your attorney’s negligence. If you are a victim of legal malpractice, contact the professionals at Kassab Law Firm today at 713-533-7400 to discuss your options.

Sources:

http://www.americanbar.org/publications/law_practice_home/law_practice_archive/lpm_magazine_webonly_webonly07101.html