Legal malpractice can happen for any number of reasons. The attorney may have agreed to take on a case that turns out to be more than they are prepared to handle, they may be overworked, they may have made an honest mistake, or they may have simply mishandled the case. Whatever led to the issue, the client has the right to hold the attorney accountable for their error.
Example #1: Lack of experience.
As noted above, a common cause of malpractice involves an attorney trying to cover a case that is outside of their wheelhouse. A criminal law specialist who tries to cover a divorce or a family law lawyer that tries to set up an estate plan could make an error that ends up costing their clients.
Example #2: Failure to keep up with technology.
This is especially applicable in today’s legal world. Technological advances have impacted every phase of the legal process. The legal profession expects attorneys to keep up with influential decisions, easily accessible online, meet demands of e-discovery and attend virtual court hearings through Zoom or similar apps. A failure to do can put a client at a dangerous disadvantage.
Example #3: Inadequate communication.
Attorneys are hired as zealous advocates for their clients. They are there to represent their interests, not make decisions for them. These legal representatives should keep clients updated on the state of the case and provide information needed to make an informed decision about how to move forward. An attorney that does not keep clients updated or makes decisions without the client’s input may run afoul of their professional responsibilities and could be liable for legal malpractice.