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What is the most common legal malpractice claim?

Attorneys in California and elsewhere whose client representation results in claims of legal malpractice commit a variety of sins. Some of their shortcomings that spawn client harm include these lapses from the professional standard of care governing their profession:

  • Conflicts of interest (e.g., simultaneous advocacy of two adverse parties in the same matter, or representation in a case involving the attorney’s own adverse interests)
  • Ethics violations (for example, failing to properly communicate with a client, or breaching a confidential matter)
  • Inadequate knowledge of the applicable law in a case
  • Wrongly pushing litigation (filing lawsuits without a reasonable basis for doing so)

Those are all cardinal errors, and they are unfortunately quite common among lawyers whose client representation is marked by negligence, general sloppiness or purposeful bad faith more than by a base level of competence.

Such mistakes are duly noted and chronicled by the American Bar Association, which stresses that one particular lawyerly lapse breeds malpractice claims more than any other.

Namely, that is calendar-related error. Put another way, what the ABA is underscoring are important dates and/or times that retained counsel misses, such as a mandatory court-linked deadline.

Erring on that score results in more than client inconvenience or a temporary sidetracking of a case. A botched deadline can flatly doom a case on the spot. An in-depth online overview of the subject matter spotlights how “tremendously costly” inattentive calendaring can be. It notes that, “Because there’s rarely a defense to missing a court deadline, malpractice insurance companies have a limited ability to defend such claims.”

Aggrieved clients will of course reasonably argue that there shouldn’t be – logically, ethically or legally – any escape from liability for a pledged professional whose negligence leads directly to a botched outcome and resulting harm.

At Glickman & Glickman, we certainly agree with that. We note on our pro-client legal malpractice website that an individual’s case can be over immediately “if your attorney misses a deadline.”

Our proven Los Angeles legal team helps valued and diverse clients proactively respond to legal malpractice and seek to secure optimal remedies following its occurrence.

We welcome contacts to the firm to provide further information.