Perhaps you’ve left several voice messages over a couple days asking your attorney to call you back on a matter you think is important to your case.
And you’re still waiting for your phone to ring.
Or maybe you’ve asked your legal counsel to solicit information from certain parties you think can offer something important in the claim you are pursuing, and those individuals keep telling you that they’ve heard nothing from your lawyer.
Such occurrences are concerning, of course.
But do they rise to the level of legal malpractice?
Here’s an answer that is less than unequivocal, but perhaps expected: Maybe … but maybe not.
One online article discussing the parameters of legal malpractice makes the fundamental point that proving it “is no easy task.”
Put another way: There might be many things that your lawyer is doing — or not doing — that concern you or flatly support your gut feeling that he or she is not acting competently in representing you.
Those sentiments are not enough to warrant a malpractice charge, though, with requires some very specific and demonstrated allegations.
For starters, any malpractice claim against an attorney must effectively show that the lawyer owed a personal duty to provide a claimant with a degree of competence that would be customarily practiced in the industry.
And the attorney must have fallen short in that duty (breached it), which caused financial harm to his or her client.
The “cause” element is a matter for close judicial consideration in every case, and an element that any claimant will want to have scrutinized by a proven plaintiffs’ malpractice attorney.
Many actions can support a malpractice claim, ranging from an attorney’s misuse of client funds to counsel having one or more conflicts of interest with a client.
Again, proceeding with and proving a claim can be a complex endeavor, with material hurdles that need to be cleared.
A proven legal advocate can help a client with those challenges.