While legal malpractice can be difficult to prove, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And just because you might not be able to prove that your lawyer engaged in malpractice, that doesn’t mean you can’t fire them.

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The most common reasons for establishing a claim of legal malpractice are breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.


Breach of Contract:


When you and your attorney sign an engagement letter, your lawyer is bound by provisions in that contract. Breach of this contract (changing billing fee, failing to perform up to the standards written in the contact, etc.) can be grounds for a malpractice claim.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty:


Your lawyer has a responsibility to handle your money professionally. This means being up front about not only hourly rates but deposition costs, investigation costs, etc. You have the right to see an item billing statement from your lawyer whenever you ask.

Many states have funds to help you get recompense for improperly handled money. Contact the bar association or attorney ethics agency in your state.

Negligence:


Negligence is the most common reason for malpractice claims. Negligence claims rest on the idea that a lawyer must provide competent representation but fails to do so by making a mistake, missing deadlines, or being careless. If the failure caused a financial loss or injury, malpractice on the basis of negligence is provable.

There are many types of negligence. Simply cutting off contact with a client is one such example, as is failing to file paperwork before an important deadline or failing to appear in court.

If you suspect your attorney of malpractice, there are lawyers who specialize in legal malpractice. Contact one or your state bar association and find out what to do next.
 

Get started Ask a Lawyer Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Ask a Lawyer Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.