Handling Lawyer Malpractice Claims

Lawyers are known for their familiarity with the law, but they may sometimes be at fault. While lawyers are less likely to respond to hollow threats of a malpractice lawsuit by clients who are dissatisfied with case outcomes, it is important to know when to pursue legal action against a faltering attorney.

Is it a Communication Problem?
Many times, clients’ issues of dissatisfaction are rooted in simple problems of miscommunication. A lawyer may be under obligation to his firm to carry more cases than he is currently prepared to handle, which can lead to a lack of attention on your case. You may feel angry and neglected while in the midst of this predicament, but this is not necessarily a situation of malpractice. Your first step should be to write a formal correspondence to your attorney to inquire as to the causes behind your current level of miscommunication. This type of civil action can rectify most misunderstandings and assist in realigning a client-attorney relationship.

Is Your Lawyer Dishonest or Incompetent?
Sometimes what could have been a matter of miscommunication actually reveals itself to be an example of dishonesty or incompetence. In every state, it is the responsibility of the bar association or the state’s supreme court to receive and handle complaints against lawyers. If you discover that your attorney is misusing your money, missing court appearances, lying to you or the court or is committing a crime then you should file a complaint with the appropriate state organization that is responsible for disciplinary measures against lawyers.

No Room for Idle Threats or Mistakes
Your first step is always going to be to discuss your dissatisfaction with your lawyer. Often, if you feel you have a legitimate malpractice claim, it may be necessary for you to enlist the services of another lawyer to help you navigate the action necessary to file this claim and handle your payment obligation. A new lawyer can help you review your contract with the original service provider to ensure your claim is in accordance with your original agreement. Most often, it is then advised that you and your original lawyer enter into mediation or arbitration to settle the original matter.

Do not let your emotions control you in matters of malpractice because being dissatisfied or angry with an outcome is not necessarily legal grounds for this type of serious claim. Pursuing legal action against your lawyer is something that must be handled with care and the guidance of further legal counsel, but it all begins with clear communication between you and your lawyer to ensure the expectations and needs of both parties are being fully met during your partnership.

Attorney Billy Skinner enjoys writing about current legal issues. He believes in informing citizens of their legal rights.