Most of us in Los Angeles try to be ethical at all times, even if we do not have an official list of ethics to follow. Many professions do have rules of ethics, including attorneys.
State bar associations require their members to abide by several rules of ethics. Failure to follow those rules can result in punishment or even the loss of the offending lawyer's license.
More importantly, an unethical lawyer's clients can suffer serious blows to their finances and personal rights. For instance, a client can lose a civil lawsuit or criminal trial because their lawyer abused their trust, not on the merits.
Common ethics violations include:
- A breach of confidentiality, such as disclosing the client's name or information about her case to a third party
- Lying to the client
- Settling the case without the client's permission or letting the client know an offer was on the table
- Ignoring the client's correspondence
None of this conduct is acceptable in an attorney-client relationship. Not only is it unprofessional, it violates the trust clients put in their lawyers, and can put clients at serious risk of a bad result in their legal matter, regardless of the merits.
When this happens, clients have the right to ask their bad attorneys for compensation. A legal malpractice suit gives victims the chance to receive at least some of what they might have received, had their attorney handled their case properly.
Though it may be difficult to trust lawyers again, an experienced legal malpractice attorney can help make up for an unpleasant prior experience.