At Smith & Doran, we understand hiring a lawyer is a big step for most people. We know because many of our clients come to us after struggling with a troubling situation on their own for much too long, whether it’s seeking compensation after a car accident, settling an estate, or facing criminal charges. They often feel vulnerable and frustrated.
In situations like these, trusting an attorney who fails to deliver the help, experience, or skill he or she promised is devastating. Our firm represents victims of legal malpractice with the goal of helping individuals and maintaining the integrity of our profession.
Types of Legal Malpractice
Legal malpractice refers to negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of contract by an attorney that causes harm to his or her client. According to the American Bar Association, the most common legal malpractice claims involve the following issues and allegations:
- Failure to know or apply the law
- Planning or strategy errors
- Inadequate discovery of facts or inadequate investigation
- Failure to file documents prior to a deadline
- Failure to know a deadline
- Procrastination in performance of services or lack of follow-up
- Failure to obtain client consent or to inform client
- Conflict of interest
- Commingling trust account funds with personal funds
- Failure to follow client instructions
- Malicious prosecution or abuse of process
- Record search errors
- Clerical errors
- Improper withdrawal from representation
- Libel or slander
- Civil rights violations
- Failure to understand or anticipate tax consequences
- Mathematical calculation errors
- Loss of file, documentation, or evidence
- Poor communication
- Work delegated to an employee
- Work delegated to an outsider
In order to prove legal malpractice, you must show that you would have won your underlying case if your lawyer had not been incompetent or made a mistake. For example, if you were hurt in a car accident and your lawyer failed to file your personal injury claim before the statute of limitations expired, you must show that you would have won your case had he or she filed your claim in time. You must also show that you would have collected on a judgment on your underlying case after winning the case.
For More about Legal Malpractice, Contact Smith & Doran
Legal malpractice is difficult to prove, but we’re up for the challenge. If you believe you have been the victim of legal malpractice in New Jersey, please contact Smith & Doran to schedule a consultation.