How clerical errors can lead to legal malpractice

Practicing law is difficult work. The stakes are often high for your clients and you do everything you can to do right by them. After all, they place their trust, belief and even invest financially in your legal expertise to lead them to a better outcome.

The easiest way to potentially harm your client’s case is the presence of administrative or clerical errors. Aside from attorneys improperly applying or misunderstanding the law, administrative errors are the biggest source of legal malpractice.

The details matter

What are some of the most common administrative errors? Here are a few examples you may have come across in your office:

  • Missed filing deadlines.
  • Typos or math errors.
  • Misfiling documents.
  • Losing documents.

Avoiding malpractice

Sometimes you can catch administrative errors like typos before the court or client does. Other times, these mistakes can prove damaging to their case and lead to legal action against you. The good news is that they may be preventable.

It’s important to ensure that everyone who handles documents pertaining to cases understands the quality standards, how to store them, and who is supposed to complete what work by a certain deadline. If you’re delegating your work to your subordinates, ensure that their deadline is reasonable, so they don’t feel compelled to rush and make sloppy mistakes just to meet that deadline.

Together, you can all do your part to reduce or possibly eliminate these types of mistakes.

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