Florida Legal Malpractice Law Blog

Multiple attorneys disciplined, some temporarily disbarred

When a person in Florida hires an attorney but then fails to receive the proper counsel and professional assistance they are due, it is reasonable to expect that there is some opportunity for recourse or justice in the matter. This recourse or justice may take many forms and for some clients today, it may well come in the form of some professional disciplinary actions levied against a multitude of attorneys.

As reported by the Bradenton Herald, the Florida State Supreme Court reviewed the cases earlier this year of multiple lawyers. Recently, several of those have opted for their choice of outcomes with many requesting what is called disciplinary revocation. This is a form of having one's right to practice law removed. However, many of the people requesting this option may have the ability to request reinstatement after serving a five-year revocation period.

What are most common legal malpractice allegations?

If you have ever found yourself in need of legal counsel in Florida, you might logically have wondered how to choose an attorney. If you do not happen to get a referral from someone you trust, you can feel a bit unsure about the quality of representation you may be apt to receive. Certainly, you should look for a lawyer who has experience in the specific area of law in which you need help. For example, if you want to create a trust, you will to find an attorney who works in estate planning. Once you have done this, you should be able to trust your lawyer can do the job you need them to do, but sometimes that does not happen.

As explained by Hirsch Insurance Brokerage, as many as four out of every five attorneys will find themselves faced with allegations of legal malpractice over the course of their career. Certainly, this does not mean every allegation is accurate but it is reason to take note.

Different malpractice policy coverages

When you find yourself in need of legal counsel in Florida, you might automatically assume that the lawyer you talk to carries the appropriate type and level of malpractice insurance. While it would be nice to believe this is true, it is in your best interest to do some checking as there can be situations where policy coverage may not be clear. 

As explained by the American Bar Association, if a particular attorney acts as an arbitrator or a mediator, their initial malpractice policy might or might not provide coverage for their services rendered as an arbitrator or mediator. Similarly, if a lawyer is providing legal services free of charge - called pro bono in the legal world - you should ask to confirm if malpractice insurance is carried for this work.

When legal malpractice impacts your career

Those who have dealt with legal malpractice may face a number of difficulties, whether their personal relationships suffer as a result of what they have been through or they face serious financial repercussions. However, this issue could have a significant impact on your career, and if you are already dealing with career challenges as a result of legal malpractice it is crucial to take a look at additional legal options that may be available. Unfortunately, legal malpractice has caused some workers to lose their jobs, and it can also lead to long-term issues that arise years down the road.

When a legal professional fails to live up to their responsibilities their clients may be adversely affected in countless ways. Depending on the nature of a case, this could spell disaster for someone's career, especially if the legal matters they were dealing with were related to their job or their ability to perform certain job duties in any manner (such as driving, for example). An unfavorable outcome in the courtroom could carry over into the workplace and result in the loss of a job, and it may also make things much harder for a worker in the future during his or her job hunt.

Depression due to legal malpractice

We have written about many of the different consequences associated with legal malpractice, from those which are financial in nature to some of the stressors that people encounter in court as a result of wrongdoing. Unfortunately, those who have been subjected to legal malpractice may face other challenges as well, such as those which are emotional in nature. Aside from high levels of stress and feeling angry, some people become depressed due to legal malpractice. Moreover, depression can have a ripple effect throughout one's life, adversely affecting personal relationships and job performance, which can make them feel hopeless.

If you are struggling with depression in the wake of legal malpractice, this is understandable. However, it is important to firmly defend your rights and look for the best course of action. Even though feeling depressed can make it seem impossible to hold a legal professional accountable for his or her wrongdoing, it is extremely important to stand up for yourself. Once you have successfully addressed legal malpractice, you may feel a significant sense of relief and your negative emotions may subside.

When an attorney should not represent you

Once you have hired an attorney, you should feel confident that your legal counsel is loyal to you and will represent your interests to the best extent possible. However, some Florida attorneys may represent your interests best by not representing you at all. For various reasons, an attorney may have an interest that could conflict with yours by taking you on as a client. By choosing to represent you, they can do great damage to your case.

Many people are unlikely to know in great detail the history of an attorney they approach for representation or the current clients represented by the attorney. It is up to the attorney to examine your case to find areas where representing you might create conflict. FindLaw points out that these conflicts may not be easy to find, so attorneys need to be thorough when they research their clients.

Statute of limitations for wrongful death in Florida

If you’ve had the misfortune of losing someone in your family, you are all too familiar with the challenges of dealing with the aftermath. In addition to the emotional and psychological burden of dealing with a loved one’s departure, there are many issues that have to be dealt with. These tasks include, preparing for a funeral, executing a will and dealing with bank accounts, etc.

Dealing with all these different issues while grieving a loss can take a huge mental and emotional toll. So it’s understandable that any thoughts of a lawsuit remain on the backburner. However, if you believe that your loved one’s passing was a wrongful death you are able to pursue a wrongful death claim.

The financial impact of legal malpractice

From time behind bars to a shattered reputation, legal malpractice can bring many consequences. However, the financial consequences of legal malpractice can be especially significant, and many people in Florida have suffered in this manner. Not only do some people have a hard time with court-imposed financial penalties and legal fees, but there are other ways in which legal malpractice can adversely affect someone from a financial point of view. For example, the outcome of a case may have a damaging impact on their career, and they may need to look for work in a different field that pays much less.

When it comes to legal malpractice, every situation is different. Sometimes, the financial consequences of a legal professional's misconduct are relatively minor, while other occurrences of legal malpractice may be absolutely devastating. For example, someone may be pushed to close their business as a result of legal malpractice, or they may find themselves buried in debt. These financial challenges can create lasting problems that disrupt someone's life, leading to depression, divorce and a host of difficulties that could have been avoided if a legal professional would have done his or her job properly.

When a legal professional intentionally mishandles a case

We have written about many different topics related to legal malpractice, and it is essential to remember that every case differs. Sometimes, legal malpractice results in relatively minor consequences, while other instances of legal malpractice can be incredibly damaging for victims and their loved ones. Unfortunately, there are some instances where legal professionals intentionally mishandle a case, for one reason or another. If you believe that a legal professional you turned to purposely failed to handle your case properly, you may need to take further action to secure the benefits that you deserve.

There are many different issues to consider when it comes to a legal professional's intentional failure to manage a case properly. For example, an attorney may purposely mishandle funds for their own financial benefit. Or, a legal professional may hold a grudge against a client they have been hired to represent, for whatever reason, and they may fail to live up to their responsibilities. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly damaging for those who are subjected to the consequences of legal malpractice, from a financial standpoint and in many other ways.

What should you reasonably expect from your lawyer?

To say that every attorney is different is an understatement. Even attorneys who specialize in the same area of law have different backgrounds, different levels of experience and target different clientele. Every attorney has his or her own way of doing things. That said, your Florida attorney, regardless of his or her unique selling points, is upheld to the same standards of every other lawyer across the nation. This means he or she has specific ethical duties. The American Bar Association explains those duties in detail.

For starters, every attorney must be competent. This means your lawyer should aim to provide high quality legal work and be able to research, analyze legal issues and remain knowledgeable on changing laws and legal trends.

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