Hiring a lawyer is a significant decision. When seeking legal counsel, you expect that the attorney you hire will be competent, effective and focused on your best interests. While this is typically the level of service you will receive, not every attorney adheres to proper ethical and professional standards.
Legal malpractice is an unfortunate reality. If you fear that something is amiss with your legal counsel, you could have grounds to file a claim. By recognizing certain warning signs, you may be able to better protect yourself and ultimately seek the compensation that you deserve.
Taking a critical look at your legal counsel
It is common to defer to a lawyer’s expertise. After all, you sought them out because they uniquely understand your specific legal issue. You do not need an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, however, to spot legal malpractice. Negligence may be present if you suspect:
- Demonstrable incompetence: Legal malpractice can occur when lawyer fails to achieve a certain level of competence. They may miss court appearances, make what appear to be avoidable mistakes or misspend your money.
- Poor communication: If your lawyer seems to unable to answer your calls or return your emails, it could be more than them just being busy. An attorney has an ethical responsibility to be appropriately communicative.
- A lack of preparedness: It can be difficult to deduce if your attorney is doing good work. If you suspect they are performing inadequately, you can request a copy of your case file to take a more in-depth look.
There are, of course, other indicators that legal malpractice is afoot. In more brazen cases, an attorney will even lie or engage in criminal acts. If your attorney is displaying such behaviors, you may have a viable legal malpractice claim.
How to proceed if you suspect legal malpractice
You can fire an attorney at any time. If you feel as though your lawyer is failing to provide competent service, it may be wise to sever ties with them. You can then bring your case to another legal professional who can advise you on your options going forward. Reporting your attorney’s conduct to the Kentucky Bar Association is also prudent.
Cases of legal malpractice can be difficult to prove. If you have been the victim of an attorney’s negligence, it is critical that you consult with an experienced legal malpractice lawyer. A professional who understands the nuances of these cases can assess your situation and devise a legal strategy that is right for you.