An attorney is a licensed and educated professional who has the theoretical ability to navigate court matters or transactional issues on behalf of a client. Unfortunately, not all attorneys are equally competent, and even those who are generally quite intelligent and skilled at their jobs can make major mistakes or engage in unethical behaviors that harm their clients.
Trying to practice an unfamiliar area of law or committing to take on a client despite a known conflict of interest are both common sources of legal malpractice claims. Occasionally, even highly-competent lawyers make preventable and seemingly negligent mistakes while representing individuals or businesses due to poor choices. Maintaining too many clients is one such issue that could lead to grounds for a malpractice claim.
Why are large client lists a concern in the legal field?
There are two reasons why a lawyer with a huge roster of clients could end up accused of legal malpractice. The first has to do with overextending themselves. Lawyers who have dozens of active cases may have a hard time keeping the details straight and could make major mistakes when arguing a case in court or negotiating with another lawyer.
They could also commit oversights in their preparation and research for a case because they cannot commit an appropriate amount of time to each client. Overextension can lead to attorneys making mistakes, not having crucial information or failing to show up for a meeting or hearing.
However, having dozens of active clients at once can also lead to another issue. The more clients an attorney represents, the greater the possibility that there will be some kind of conflict of interest. Lawyers may struggle to recall and properly disclose such conflicts but may find themselves subconsciously influenced by them nonetheless.
Lawyers with too many cases may fail their clients
Those negatively affected by an attorney who had more clients than they could reasonably handle may potentially have grounds for a legal malpractice claim. If their lawyer did something grossly incompetent, deviated from professional standards or violated ethical rules, clients harmed by the circumstances may have grounds to claim the lawyer’s actions or inaction were legal malpractice.
Discussing the failings of one lawyer with an attorney who is familiar with legal malpractice claims can generally help someone to determine whether they have grounds to pursue a lawsuit.