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:
- Failure to know or apply the law
- Planning errors
- Inadequate discovery or investigation
- Failure to file documents
- Failure to calendar properly
- Failure to know or ascertain deadline
- Failure to obtain client’s consent
- Conflict of interest
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.