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Los Angeles Professional Malpractice Law Blog

Re-fingerprinting of CA attorneys: What will it reveal?

Authorities with the State Bar of California obviously harbor some concerns regarding the integrity and past backgrounds of select attorneys. They have sought to address them with a massive program requiring the re-fingerprinting of every actively licensed lawyer practicing across the state.

If you are a lay reader of this blog who has retained a California attorney for legal work or is considering doing so, should that at all concern you? Is it merely an administrative exercise?

Claimant's case raises questions of incompetent representation

A construction worker in one American state suffered on-the-job injuries at a worksite a couple years ago and expected to receive workers' compensation benefits as a result.

His claim was denied.

Not willing to settle for that result, the employee took the matter to arbitration. He claimed that the denial was in bad faith and that his employer had unlawfully retaliated against him for pursuing an injury recovery.

Finally, vindication for filmmaker in forgery malpractice case

A senior executive with National Geographic was asked some visa-related questions a few years ago by American government officials concerning a British filmmaker working for the company in the U.S. The company official noted her repeated signature on visa renewal applications for the filmmaker.

It was forged. National Geographic immediately fired the filmmaker.

You might want to ask your lawyer this: Are you a lateral?

A legal trend in recent years has been the increasingly common practice of law firms bringing in so-called "lateral" hires from competitors. The need to do so is twofold: first, to replace their own attorneys who have walked out the door and, second, to get fresh blood and experienced talent in place that can attract new clients.

A recent American Lawyer article references lateral hire-linked research that posits generally disappointing results for most firms that actively recruit laterals. Here are two major findings from the Global Lateral Hire Risk Mitigation Study:

Plaintiff alleges fraudulent investment scheme, legal malpractice

The plaintiff states that he was reasonably induced to invest heavily in a hyped investment opportunity promising a "healthy return."

A California arbitrator subsequently ruled that the investor was entitled to a $3.4 million judgment in the wake of that opportunity proving to be falsely promoted and without merit.

Appeals court revives malpractice case against California law firm

California law firm Morrison & Foerster might have temporarily thought that it had escaped liability in a legal malpractice case filed against it in 2015 by an investment bank client. Firm principals were undoubtedly buoyed by a 2016 ruling issued by a New York trial court that dismissed the bank's lawsuit against it.

Any resulting euphoria was short-lived, though. An appellate court revived the case last week, announcing that the plaintiff's allegations of negligent client representation were sufficient to send the case back to trial.

How do you legally determine a breach of contract?

If you have ever entered into an agreement with someone regarding property, business endeavors or financial obligations among other things, you have probably signed a contract. Your contract plays a critical role in protecting you, as well as the other party who you are under contract with. With detailed clauses that define both you and your partner's obligations, duties and anticipated benefits, you can have peace of mind that your best interest is protected in a way that is bound by legal terms in the state of California. 

In cases where you suspect your contract has been breached by the other party, you may be wondering how to identify whether or not a failure has occurred. According to The University of New Mexico Judicial Education Center, courts determine if a contract has been breached by one or both parties, by assessing several key factors. Some of the questions you can expect the courts to address in these types of cases include the following:

  • Were there any modifications made by yourself or the other party that changed the meaning of the original content?
  • Does the contract failure fall under a material or minor breach?
  • Did you ever enter into a contract that existed under legal definition?
  • What were the individual obligations of both you and the other contracted party?
  • Were you and/or the other party negatively compromised by the breach?
  • Does the breaching party have a sound legal defense to back up their actions?

State bar ire against attorneys can owe to multiple causes

California residents who firmly believe that the legal assistance they have sought from a state attorney has been troublingly deficient might reasonably want to note a couple things.

First, it is not uncommon for clients in the state to sometimes feel that way. Even a brief scan of disciplinary proceedings against problem lawyers readily reveals that a high number of them have been derelict in their client duties.

Not exactly a winning argument for disbarred California attorney

You're making "a big issue out of nothing."

That contention made by a long-time California attorney in response to a disciplinary outcome recently handed down by the state bar wasn't an utterance much appreciated by officials from the state's governing legal body.

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