August 2018 Archives

When is an attorney not an attorney?

There are many reasons Florida clients may consider a legal malpractice suit against an attorney, including conflict of interest, failure to know the law, or missing important court deadlines. But merely losing your case without having such a reason does not mean your attorney committed malpractice. Now imagine having this reason: your attorney is not really an attorney. That may be the case of some who stumble onto a website claiming to belong to an unfortunate yet licensed attorney George Ackerman of Palm Beach County.

Can natural disasters lead to legal malpractice?

Florida is known for many things: Disneyworld, alligators, college and professional football, the Everglades, and much more. One thing it is also very well known for is hurricanes. Some of the biggest - and most destructive - hurricanes in recent history have made landfall along the Florida coastline and then moved further inland, carving a path of destruction throughout the state.

Johnny Depp may be close to settlement in legal malpractice case

Hollywood star, Johnny Depp, is enmeshed in a $30 million legal malpractice lawsuit against his longtime lawyers. By some accounts, Depp and the firm, Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP (Bloom), may be close to a settlement.

Does losing equate to malpractice?

You thought you had a rock-solid case. Your attorney assured you that it was smooth sailing, and that things were going according to plan. He all but guaranteed you would be successful. His assurances gave you confidence, and you rested easy throughout the entirety of the trial, confident that you would walk away victorious. Even though there was so much on the line for you, you didn't stress too much because you trusted that your attorney had your best interests at heart.

How is legal competence defined?

It may seem odd to you to consider the question of whether or not an attorney may be competent. After all, such professionals work and study for years before being granted the right to practice law, and the specialized nature of their training almost automatically assigns them with a certain degree of intelligence. Yet competence (at least when used in reference to attorneys), typically refers more to their practices rather than their intelligence. You may indeed find that as you work with an attorney, some of his or her methods may indeed call his or her competence info question. 

Attorney-client relationships involving diminished capacity

The relationship between an attorney and a client in Florida might seem fairly straightforward: the attorney offers representation at the request of the client with his or her best interests in mind. Yet does it ever become an attorney's right to determine what the best interests of a client might be? Many come to us here at St. Denis & Davey questioning when an attorney might have overstepped his or her bounds, to which we tell them there are situations were one might act on a client's behalf withouth his or her consent. One such scenario is where a client is of diminished capacity, and if you have a loved one in such a situation, your knowledge of ethical attorney conduct might help protect him or her. 

Legal malpractice claims: Did you file in time?

If you suspect your lawyer mishandled your case or behaved unethically, you may wish to file a legal malpractice suit. Your first step is to make sure the statute of limitations has not already passed. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations ends, you permanently lose your right to pursue a claim. Timely and proactive action is essential.

What to do when your lawyer won't return your calls or emails

When you hire an attorney, you probably have certain expectations regarding communication about your case. If you call or send an email, you expect a response within a reasonable amount of time. But when failure to return calls or answer emails becomes the norm, you may wish to break ties and seek new representation.

Fee disputes and legal malpractice

For attorneys, collecting fees for work performed is a standard part of practicing law. But when your legal fees amount to much more than expected and it does not seem as though your attorney completed the work billed, a fee dispute can occur. When you and your attorney cannot reach a payment agreement for work performed, a legal malpractice claim may follow.

How To Spot A Bad Lawyer

Entering the courtroom is intimidating, and it's essential you have the right support system to help you through a hearing or trial. It's crucial to choose the right lawyer for your circumstances so that you can depend on them during the process.

When Interests Conflict

How is legal malpractice revealed in a conflict of interest? Just as there are many ways for legal malpractice to happen, there are reasons behind the mistakes and ethical friction. Here are some types of legal malpractice stemming from a conflict of interest:

Is not knowing the same as malpractice?

Laws at both the federal and state level in Florida are always being changed, broadened or narrowed. New ones are passed, and sometimes, others are struck down. One of the most stringent requirements of any attorney is staying current with all the changes and understanding how they apply to the day-to-day practice of law. It is imperative that attorneys make every effort to remain up-to-date as changes could impact decisions they make concerning case or trial strategy, as well as the outcome of future cases. An attorney who does not understand these things may make mistakes, which could leave him or her open to charges of legal malpractice.

What is malicious prosecution?

Most Florida residents likely understand the concept of malpractice as something a professional person does that is illegal or improper. It can also mean something the expert fails to do, such as misdiagnose a medical condition or mishandle a defendant’s case in court. In the legal arena, malpractice can also apply legal actions brought against someone for dubious reasons. It is called malicious prosecution and refers to unfair proceedings against a person in which the charges are groundless.

What your lawyer needs to do to avoid conflicts of interest

The most popular legal malpractice cases stem from conflicts of interest accusations towards the lawyer. This year, insurance broker Ames & Gough conducted a study with nine of the leading lawyers' professional liability insurance companies and found that seven of them claimed that conflicts of interest was the leading legal malpractice error.

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