There are never any certain outcomes where the law is concerned. There are probabilities, statistics, the "voice of experience" and other factors that you can take into account when you make decisions as a case moves forward -- but the typical layperson needs to rely on their attorney for a lot of guidance.
That puts attorneys in a rather elevated position with their clients. Some of them, unfortunately, misuse that position or abuse the trust they are given.
Just recently, Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose name captured a lot of headlines through his representation of Stormy Daniels, has been accused of legal misconduct and a breach of his fiduciary duty toward that same client. He allegedly misdirected funds that were meant for his client into his own account for business and personal expenses. If true, that's a serious ethical and legal violation for an attorney to commit.
However, there are plenty of other ways that an attorney can be guilty of legal malpractice. For example, clients always have a right to expect that the attorney handling their case is competent to do so. That may not be so, however, if:
- Your attorney doesn't observe the rules of procedure and misses the statute of limitations on your case
- An attorney accepts a case that is outside of his or her area of practice (like a real estate attorney taking on a criminal case)
- Your attorney doesn't seem to have your best interests at heart, colludes with the other side to close a case quickly or shows up to court unprepared
- Your attorney doesn't adequately inform you of a settlement offer, your risks at trial or some other important issue
- An attorney represents you while suffering from an untreated mental illness or while using drugs or alcohol
- Your attorney had a conflict of interest that put you at a disadvantage
According to recent reports, conflicts of interest that cause a breach of an attorney's duty of loyalty to the client are the most common cause of legal malpractice. The areas of law most likely to see a legal malpractice claim include trusts and estates, corporate and securities, real estate transactions and business transactions.
If you've fallen victim to legal malpractice, find out how our firm may be able to help you recover your losses. Please explore our site further or contact us directly to discuss the situation.