Florida Legal Malpractice Law Blog

Reach out to a new attorney if you're a victim of malpractice

It's unfair to have to deal with an attorney who doesn't respect your time. It's not your responsibility to call multiple times to get updates when your attorney should be responding to your call the first time. It's not fair for you to wonder if they're going to meet deadlines or to find out that they didn't meet important deadlines, leaving you without the ability to make your case in court.

When an attorney violates their agreement with you and leaves you with few legal avenues to pursue, you may want to discuss the situation with another attorney and consider filing a legal malpractice lawsuit.

What are common reasons why attorneys are sued for malpractice?

Attorneys learn a lot of valuable information in law school. Some of the topics that their textbooks and professors stress are how to uphold their obligations to the clients. They can minimize their chances of being accused of legal malpractice by doing so.

Lawyers learn in law school to document everything, not miss any statutes of limitations and avoid any potential conflicts of interest. They receive this advice because these are some of the more common reasons that attorneys find themselves sued for legal malpractice.

Can you file a malpractice claim for poor communication?

No one should have to go through legal malpractice. When an attorney takes on a case, it's their responsibility to make sure they can handle it and provide their client with the best possible service. They are responsible for ethical behavior and need to provide support to their client if and when they need it.

One of the issues that clients sometimes face is being taken on by an attorney who doesn't have enough time for them. When communication slows down or stops because the attorney is working on other cases, that can be a big problem. It could mean that a client is left wondering if the case is moving forward or concerned that there is something wrong.

Attorneys must keep client information confidential

There is a certain level of trust that must exist between an attorney and a client. The client has the right to expect that the attorney will keep things that are told to them confidential. The legal concept of attorney-client privilege is the basis for this expectation, and it is one that lawyers are supposed to uphold, according to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as cited by the American Bar Association.

There are some very limited situations that a lawyer is allowed to reveal information about their client without the client's permission. The rules specifically state seven such situations:

  • To comply with an order from the court
  • To get legal advice about compliance with these rules
  • To prevent death or bodily injury if it's reasonably certain
  • To prevent certain fraud or crimes
  • To establish a defense in a case against the attorney related to the client
  • To rectify, prevent or mitigate certain damages related to the client
  • To address conflicts of interests with certain career changes

How does legal malpractice affect victims?

Legal malpractice can be caused by many kinds of legal mistakes, such as failing to file paperwork on time or forgetting to return a client's calls and missing deadlines with their case. An attorney who makes errors could end up costing a client their opportunity in court, which is a major problem for both parties.

When a person's attorney messes up, there are a few things that could happen. The mistake may:

  • Limit the person's ability to make a future claim for a personal injury or other purpose
  • Cost the client money, since they technically still owe the law firm money for the work it did
  • May cost the victim money in retainer fees that were already paid
  • Cost the victim money when they have to retain a new attorney to file a claim

Laziness could constitute legal malpractice

When you hire a lawyer, you have the right to expect adequate representation. The competence of your lawyer could mean the difference between a successful outcome that protects your rights or interests and one that leaves you without options.

Not every unsuccessful legal outcome is the result of malpractice. In legal cases, there are winners and losers. However, legal malpractice can arise in many different ways. It can include things like conflicts of interest that should have made an attorney decline a case to fraudulent billing practices. Legal malpractice can also simply occur because your lawyer was simply lazy or incompetent. The following are some ways in which your lawyer's laziness could have led to legal malpractice.

Were you poorly represented in a military enlistment contract?

When people enlist in the military it’s serious business. Sure, there’s a lot of excitement, even if it’s nervous excitement. But entering into the military means signing an enlistment contract. Contracts have earned a reputation for their fine print and specificities that typically earn hours of close readings, followed by negotiation and compromising. Even though enlisting is something that a new recruit takes joy in, they’ll want to make sure that their interests are well represented in their contract.

To make sure that that happens, some seek out an attorney to look over their enlistment contract. And while many attorneys do their due diligence, there is an unfortunate history of this not happening.

What are 3 kinds of legal malpractice?

If there is anything in the world that is frustrating, it's when a professional doesn't do their job correctly. You expect someone who has been educated in law to know what they're doing and to protect your rights. You expect the service that you'd receive with any other attorney.

Unfortunately, legal malpractice does happen. Here are three common examples of legal malpractice.

Dabbling might lead to legal malpractice claims

Attorneys have a duty to provide adequate representation for their clients. Most attorneys have an area of the law in which they focus. This is what they've taken the time to study and learn the concepts of this particular area. But, some attorneys will opt to try to work on cases in other areas that they aren't as familiar with. This can cause the client to receive representation that isn't as good as what they'd usually provide.

If you're a client who had an attorney represent you in an area outside of their normal practice and the case didn't go in the manner it should have, you may consider trying to determine whether the case meets the criteria for legal malpractice. When a lawyer works on a case in an area they usually don't practice in, they're dabbling.

Did your lawyer violate your confidentiality?

A lawyer is supposed to be a trusted ally when you need legal assistance. You should be able to count on your lawyer to make sure that your information is secure.

A breach in confidentiality is not always when a lawyer intentionally gives your information to an unauthorized party. When lawyers do not take care to ensure client information security, it can be a breach of confidentiality.

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