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Los Angeles Professional Malpractice Law Blog

Addressing legal conflict of interest, a widely varied concern

We note on our website (and, additionally, in many of our blog posts) that legal malpractice in California and elsewhere encompasses a broad realm of wrongdoing. Clients often have legitimate grievances against their retained legal counsel based on multiple grounds. Those encompass incompetent representation, ethics/morals violations, missed deadlines, communication failures and malfeasance concerning fees.

Good-faith claims of lawyerly negligence or bad faith also include allegations that spotlight conflicts of interest. A conflict regarding representation is virtually a cardinal sin in the view of California legal authorities and rules enforcers. We note on Glickman & Glickman’s malpractice website that malpractice is flatly inferred “when a lawyer puts his or her interests above the needs of his or her clients.”

Revisiting the new California State Bar fingerprinting duty

Active California legal practitioners might collectively be lamenting the recently imposed duty upon them to submit to fingerprinting by the end of next April. We noted in a recent Glickman & Glickman blog post that the new onus has resulted in the State Bar of California being “flooded with thousands of negative comments from lawyers.”

That is both understandable and unsurprising. Most of the state’s approximately 190,000 practicing attorneys are ethical, competent in their advocacy and busy throughout their working days. Many of them begrudge the requirement to visit a police station to comply with an or-else mandate.

Attorney’s suspension/probation spotlights reciprocal discipline

Minnesota is a “sister state,” notes a recent written decision of the California State Bar Court. What that means is that California legal authorities will pay close attention to select attorney discipline proceedings there, as well as in all other states, which are similarly characterized.

What potentially triggers California bar officials’ interest in an attorney-linked matter from another state is whether it has some reasonable nexus to California. Bar authorities found that to be decidedly the case in the above-cited matter.

Billing issues at the heart of many CA legal malpractice claims

No California attorney can reasonably be expected to perform for a client at a super-human level. Like everybody else, lawyers – even good ones – occasionally make mistakes.

Sometimes, though, those errors become a problem. They might be multiple and/or material, serving as catalysts that personally harm and undercut a client’s case.

Annual legal malpractice survey: many problem areas for law firms

Insurance broker company Ames & Gough conducts a widely studied annual survey of legal malpractice claims across the United States, looking at both specifics and trends. The findings it culled in its most recent look at data supplied by multiple large malpractice defense insurers are instructive. We pass them along here for our readers' interest and consideration.

Here's a foremost takeaway: Lawyers get into hot water when they oversell their experience and expertise.

A missed deadline can have dire consequences in your legal matter

It is eminently reasonable for any lay person in California to justifiably rely upon the knowledge, competence and good-faith representation of a lawyer retained in a legal matter.

Indeed, it would be ludicrous if that expectation was unwarranted. After all, membership in the California State Bar is not casually conferred. It takes years of arduous study and effort for any individual to get through law school and pass California’s notably dreaded bar exam.

Veteran’s medical malpractice claim denied

A Marine Corps veteran was denied his medical malpractice claim due to a little-known statute of limitations loophole. Brian Tally was misdiagnosed with a lower back strain, instead of staph infection that was eating away at his bones.

Tally lives with his wife and four children in Temecula, where he owned and operated a landscaping business. Then one morning in 2016, he woke up feeling like that he couldn’t get out of bed. A few days later, he had developed severe back pain. His pain kept him from walking anywhere.

First ethics overhaul in decades brings big change for CA lawyers

A recent media spotlight placed on California attorneys and the rules that govern their conduct pursuant to professional practice notes that it has been decades since the last full revision of the state’s ethics rules.

Much has changed since the 1980s, of course, which was the last time the State Bar of California took a hard and comprehensive look at lawyerly behavior prior to its recent overhaul of ethics provisions.

Recent report on California State Bar examines lawyer discipline

We noted the relatively recent rollout of material changes in the State Bar of California that seek to give that sprawling bureaucratic arm a new look and feel. The focus is on tautness and a sharper focus, and bar officials think that the goal has been achieved.

We referenced the top-tier concern for bar regulators in our May 7 blog post, stressing therein officials' concern with problem lawyers practicing across the state.

Recent developments materially affecting California State Bar

Anyone with even a casual interest in the State Bar of California knows that that the officials and legions of workers employed by that entity have no time to spare.

They’re flat-out busy and focused daily on a wide assortment of concerns. That they are is essentially a given; as noted in a recent Bloomberg article on California legal matters, the California bar is “the nation’s largest bar.”

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