To the uninitiated, bringing a legal malpractice claim against an attorney may seem simple enough. After all, it’s just another lawsuit stemming from an attorney’s negligence, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Nevertheless, there are several mistakes that attorneys can make that can become actionable under Florida law. This post will highlight a few.
Breach of fiduciary duty – When an attorney takes on a client’s case, he or she owes the client the highest degree of loyalty and honesty. A lawyer breaches this duty when putting his or her own interests before the client’s or when the attorney compromises the client’s case.
Fraud – If a lawyer intentionally misrepresents facts regarding the case and the client relies on them to his or her detriment, the attorney has committed a wrong that can be remedied through a lawsuit. Additionally, fraud can be committed when a lawyer fails to disclose a material fact that is important to the case.
Theft by conversion – This involves the taking of a client’s money that is unearned. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. For example, when a lawyer bills for services that were not performed or charges that were not incurred, the fees are essentially stolen from the client, even though the lawyer has been entrusted with the funds. Theft crimes can also be actionable in criminal proceedings in addition to malpractice or ethics matters.
If you believe that you have been wronged in any of these ways, and you have lost money because of them, an experienced legal malpractice attorney can advise you.