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How do I know if my attorney committed malpractice?

Just because your previous attorney did a less than stellar job does not necessarily mean you have a case for legal malpractice. However, lawyers in California are held to professional and ethical standards. A violation of that duty may mean you can recover some of the financial loss you suffered because of your previous attorney’s negligence or other wrongdoing.

As a client, it can be difficult to know when you have a valid lawsuit against your previous attorney. Certainly not every mistake an attorney makes will result in a successful legal malpractice claim. It is also important to note here that this blog is not legal advice, nor does it represent an attorney-client relationship. If you have a question about whether you have a claim for legal malpractice, you should contact an experienced California attorney familiar with legal malpractice cases to discuss your situation and legal options.

With that said, California has laid out the elements of a legal malpractice claim. Read below to learn about those elements. 

In California, a successful legal malpractice claim will show that:

  • Your attorney owed you a legal duty
  • Your attorney breached that duty
  • There was “proximate cause” between the breach of duty and resulting injury; and
  • You suffered actual losses

Many legal malpractice cases turn on whether an attorney actually breached his or her professional duty, or merely made a mistake. This is very fact-specific and depends on the circumstances of each case. In addition, you must be able to show that the negligence or other wrongdoing was sufficiently related to an actual financial loss you suffered to give rise to a legal claim. A minor error that may or may not have damaged your case is not likely sufficient. 

Again, each legal malpractice claim is unique and depends on individual circumstances. If you are considering legal action against a former attorney, contact an experienced legal malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal options.