What happens when more than one client accuses an attorney of malpractice? The case gets national attention, but it also provides an opportunity to discuss how clients can hold their attorney accountable for a failure to provide quality council.
What is quality counsel?
When it comes to legal counsel, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct require attorneys meet certain standards when providing legal services to clients. This includes expectations that they do not provide counsel to one client when already in a professional relationship with the opposing side (conflict of interest), are competent to represent the issue at hand, and meet all expected filing deadlines.
A failure to meet these expectations can result in allegations of legal malpractice.
What happens when an attorney fails to provide quality counsel?
The client or clients may have a case for legal malpractice The case noted above provides an example of the consequences that can come with legal malpractice. In the case, clients accused an attorney of repeated instances of malpractice including a client who claimed the attorney repeatedly billed for round trips to a distant location, when the attorney only needed to go across town.
When presented with the evidence to support the allegations of false charges and other instances of legal malpractice, the state’s supreme court held in favor of the clients. The court stated that they gave the attorney an opportunity to explain his position, but that he had a “rather cavalier attitude toward the truth.” Needless to say, this did not help his case. The justices ultimately ordered the attorney to pay the clients thousands in restitution and suspended the attorney’s license for two years.