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Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice - who last year pled guilty to financial fraud along with her husband Joe - has now sued her lawyer for legal malpractice, arguing that her lawyer's actions put her in the "cross-hairs of federal prosecution and a prison cell" by filing documents that were inaccurate. Ms. Giudice, who is currently serving a 15-month sentence in prison for charges related to bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud, alleges that she would not be incarcerated if her lawyer, bankruptcy attorney James Kridel, had properly handled legal matters on her behalf. Ms. Giudice and her husband both pled guilty to the fraud charges in 2014, and Mr. Giudice will begin serving a 41-month prison sentence once her sentence is completed. 

Ms. Giudice alleges that Mr. Kridel did not properly consult with her in filing for bankruptcy in 2009 which led to numerous errors and omissions, and that he made numerous material mistakes during the bankruptcy trial of which he failed to inform his client. Furthermore, she alleges Mr. Kridel negligently prepared her to testify during her bankruptcy trial, which she believes resulted in her incarceration. Her suit also charges that Mr. Kridel, who appeared several times on the Real Housewives of New Jersey reality show, was more concerned with the exposure that his practice received as a result of being on TV than on properly providing her legal advice. Ms. Giudice seeks damages to compensate her for the losses associated with her conviction and her bankruptcy proceeding, as well as punitive damages.

Plaintiffs such as Ms. Giudice face a difficult challenge in proving that their attorney committed legal malpractice. In order to prevail, she will need to show that her bankruptcy proceeding would have turned out differently had Mr. Kridel made the errors she is alleging. She will also have to show for the purposes of her criminal trial that, if Mr. Kridel had properly handled her legal affairs, there would not have been enough evidence to prove her guilt of the criminal charges she pled guilty to, and thus she would not have gone to prison.

If you believe that a lawyer with whom you have worked has committed legal malpractice by not properly handling your case, it is important to find an attorney you can trust to evaluate your case and, if it appears your lawyer acted improperly, mount a strong legal case to recover the damages caused by your lawyer's mishandled representation of your case. At Smith & Doran, we represent victims of legal malpractice with the goal of helping individuals and maintaining the integrity of our profession. Whether your lawyer failed in his or her duty to know or apply the law, complete an adequate discovery of facts, honor deadlines, disclose conflicts of interest, obtain your consent, or properly plan or strategize your case (among other failures), you may be entitled to compensation for legal malpractice. If you believe you have been the victim of legal malpractice in New Jersey, please contact Smith & Doran to schedule a consultation.

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