In late September, a Miami attorney was suspended over allegations from a legal malpractice lawsuit against them and their firm, according to The Florida Bar. The complaints included details about inappropriate communication with the opposing counsel.
The state bar released an announcement on Oct. 31 about the high court's recommendation - a 90-day suspension and a $1,590 fine. The lawyer was allowed 30 days to close out their practice and protect current clients' interests.
The lawsuit included the lawyer's representation of a California technologies company and its parent company in prosecution of a patent application. The company proceeded to file a malpractice suit in 2013. During the malpractice lawsuit, the attorney proceeded to discuss the case with a client represented by the opposing counsel.
When they approached the client, they crossed certain standards set by the bar to not interfere with the opposing counsel and with their clientele. Unfortunately, this is not a rare practice across legal professionals.
When communication becomes malpractice
There are several ways a competent attorney may communicate with opposing counsel for a specific client without committing malpractice. They may be pleading for your case, trying to drop charges or setting up a future plea deal. The discussions make sense since your lawyer is acting as your advocate to the courtroom.
However, there are times when the discussion becomes unethical. If an attorney is misleading you or the prosecution about your case, it might qualify as legal malpractice. The same can be true if your attorney avoids communication with their clients. They should be available to answer questions and update people about their cases.
Most lawyers are excellent at their job and present strong ethics in the courthouse. But if you feel your lawyer has purposefully lost your case or performed below their duties, you may file a complaint against them to the Florida State Bar.