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.
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.
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.
When you send an email to your Florida attorney, you probably believe that the information it contains is confidential information that the attorney cannot disclose to anyone else. But is it?
Most people in Florida believe that anything they say to their attorney is privileged; that is, that the attorney cannot reveal it to anyone else. While this holds true in general, it represents a somewhat oversimplification of attorney-client privilege.
When you retain an attorney to assist you with a legal matter in Florida, your expectation likely is that you will work with them and only them. Yet for all of their knowledge of the fields in which they practice, attorneys may lack an understanding of certain specialties that may be needed in order to adequately represent you. Thus, your attorney may find it necessary to bring in others who are not lawyers to participate in preparing your case. Even though these professionals may not be attorneys, their actions can impact the outcome of your case. You should know, then, what responsibilities your attorney assumes when involving nonlawyers in your representation.
A common perception that many in Florida may have about attorneys is that all are incredibly rich due to the high fees that they charge for their services. If you are of limited means, this may deter you from seeking their services (even when you might desperately be in need of them). Yet you have probably heard of cases where attorneys agree to represent clients for free or at a drastically reduced cost (this is commonly referred to as "pro bono" work). Many often come to us here at St. Denis & Davey asking if this is a requirement associated with the legal profession.
Every relationship requires the involved parties to communicate. This is true regardless of the nature of the relationship. Married couples in Florida must communicate, doctors and patients must be able to communicate and so too must attorneys and their clients. Communication gaps or breakdowns may actually contribute to the failure of a person to get the legal representation they deserve from their counsel.
When you invest in an attorney in Florida, you expect him or her to do everything in his or her power to ensure the best possible outcome for your case or claim. Moreover, you expect him or her to act only in your best interests and to refrain from activity that could hurt your case, finances or reputation. Unfortunately, what you expect is not always what you get. Some attorneys act in ways that suggest a conflict of interest, negligence or flat-out intentional wrongdoing. If your attorney acts in any such way, he or she may be guilty of legal malpractice. FindLaw details signs this is the case.