Attorney conduct in California that falls below a designated standard of care for clients covers a lot of ground.
A lawyer’s performance can harm a client when it proceeds from a clear conflict of interest (for example, simultaneous representation of another party with competing interests in the same matter). California attorneys’ laxity sometimes yields missed court filings or other deadlines that are critically important in a case. The relevant law in a matter might simply be misunderstood or misapplied by retained legal counsel, to a trusting client’s detriment.
Some deficient performance stems from representation that is simply incompetent because it is negligent. Advocacy (loosely applied here) can also be fatally undermined when a lawyer’s actions spell wanton disregard for a client’s well-being. Bad-faith representation can prove far worse than no representation at all.
We reference on our website at the long-established Los Angeles victims’ legal malpractice law firm of Glickman & Glickman the harm done by clients via an attorney’s “intentional wrongdoing.”
Understandably, the State Bar of California does not look leniently upon an attorney’s purposeful and premeditated conduct that will unquestionably harm a client. State legal regulators routinely come down hard on a practitioner’s bad-faith behavior that harms a client, especially when such conduct simultaneously enriches the attorney.
A recently reported bar matter involving client funds is a case in point. In that matter, an attorney who secured a sizable money award for a client misrepresented the amount and withheld a significant portion of the recovery, diverting it to himself for personal use.
Bar authorities termed that an “unconscionable” act and “willful violation” of attorney rules that demanded a stern reprisal. The bar filed disciplinary charges against the lawyer, who never formally responded in court.
As a result, the attorney was deemed to be in default. He is no longer eligible to practice law in California.