The Top 10 Legal Malpractice Claims: Holding Attorneys to the Highest Professional and Ethical Standards

Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer harms their client by negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of contract. According to the ABA, the ten most common legal malpractice allegations are as follows:

  1. Failure to know or apply the law
  2. Planning errors
  3. Inadequate discovery or investigation
  4. Failure to file documents
  5. Failure to calendar properly
  6. Failure to know or ascertain deadline
  7. Procrastination
  8. Failure to obtain client’s consent
  9. Conflict of interest
  10. Fraud

Failure to know or properly apply the law constitutes more than 11% of legal malpractice claims in the U.S! This kind of professional incompetence can cost clients’ cases, causing them serious harm. Conflicts of interest and fraud each make up about 5% of total legal malpractice cases, meaning that legal malpractice is more likely to be the result of incompetence or negligent behavior than willfully taking advantage of a client.

No matter the case, all attorneys who fail to properly represent their clients’ best interests must be accountable for their actions. Most lawyers do not handle legal malpractice cases, but a skilled, experienced legal malpractice attorney can undo the damage dealt by incompetent, unprofessional, and unprepared attorneys.