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Did your lawyer abandon you during a trial or dispute?

When you found out that you were the subject of a criminal investigation or when you got arrested by a police officer, contacting a criminal defense attorney may have been the first step you took for your own protection. If you were in the middle of a contract dispute with a vendor at your small business or a boundary dispute with your neighbor that would affect a scheduled renovation on your home, you likely hired a lawyer to help you with both negotiations and a better understanding of the law.

Once an attorney agrees to represent you, they should facilitate the communications related to your conflict and be present for you during negotiations and your time in court. If your lawyer suddenly stopped responding to you or showing up to key hearings, their behavior may have resulted in an unfavorable outcome and may actually constitute legal malpractice.

Attorneys have duties to their clients

You trust that a lawyer will do what is best for you, however busy they may be and however simple your conflict may be in comparison to a multi-million dollar merger deal. It is still crucial to you to resolve the situation appropriately, and you trust that the lawyer who takes your case will pay attention to you, communicate in a timely manner and give you the right advice for the situation.

When they suddenly stop responding to you, the other party or the other lawyer, you may be left at a significant disadvantage as negotiations move forward. Lawyers who fail to show up to court or who sever their relationship with a client right before a court date might leave someone scrambling to recover and unable to get the representation they need for a successful outcome.

Typically, there are restrictions on when an attorney can sever their relationship with the client after accepting a retainer and agreeing to represent them. If your lawyer failed to properly notify you that they were withdrawing from your case or if they simply didn’t show up or respond, which affected the outcome of your case, you may have a legal malpractice claim.

Inadequate representation is a serious issue

When your lawyer doesn’t communicate with you, show up in court or learn the details of your case, achieving the best outcome is unlikely. Those harmed by a lawyer who does not meet appropriate professional standards could have grounds for a legal malpractice claim of the previous outcome. Recognizing what might constitute legal malpractice can help those harmed by an unprofessional  attorney.