In a case involving pornography some decades ago, one United States Supreme Court justice wrote that, although he could not precisely define obscenity, "I know it when I see it."
That might ultimately be the same gut-feeling standard/test applied by California residents when they just don't feel right about the legal representation being provided by a lawyer they have retained in a given matter.
Law is, well, law, a specialized area of learning and knowledge that is singular and highly specialized, and coupled with its own province of technical concepts and terms. A lay person cannot reasonably be expected to know instantly and with certainty whether a licensed attorney is providing reasonably professional services or straying unacceptably far from the norm.
Instincts are sometimes unerring, though, and an "I know it when …" litmus test -- especially when accompanied by that aforementioned gnawing feeling -- can often be a reasonable indicator that something is flatly wrong with an attorney and his or her performance.
When that is the case, clients in California or elsewhere who are justifiably relying on competence and receiving something else can be badly hurt.
What are some indicators of attorney incompetence? Here are a few:
- Failure to timely advise or even respond to a client
- Manifestly unprofessional decorum, dress and/or behavior
- Missing deadlines relevant to meetings, hearings and legal filings
- Misunderstanding the law
No attorney is perfect, and there can be different approaches and strategies that equally bring satisfactory results.
When that is not the case, though, and indications are strongly surfacing that a lawyer's performance and deportment are simply off the mark by comparison with other attorneys, incompetence might be rearing its head.
Clients who are harmed through counsel's incompetence and suffer monetary damages have a lawful right to pursue available remedies. A proven Los Angeles law firm that advocates on behalf of victims injured by legal incompetence can provide further information.