Author: Howard Altschuler

A Tale of Two Grievances— (1) $20 too late, and (2) $650 too much

If you believe an attorney has been unethical in dealings with you, one option is filing a grievance with your state bar.  Many if not most state courts have grievances online. For example, Connecticut has grievance decisions going back to

The Statute of Limitations: Now you see it, now you don’t…

One of the first things I need to find out from a potential client is when the events took place. That is because virtually all potential litigation causes of action have a strict deadline for commencing litigation (the statute of

Silence is Not Always Golden

If an attorney violates ethical rules, a complaint may be filed against the attorney with your state grievance committee. Courts also have jurisdiction over the conduct of attorneys and may impose sanctions particularly for conduct during the course of litigation.  

Litigation Rule # 3: Don’t wait until the last minute to serve a complaint…you never know what will happen.

Every lawsuit has to start somewhere.   One of the very first things that happens in the litigation process after a complaint is drafted is that a physical copy of the complaint must be properly served on the defendant. Without

Is an expert needed to prove a breach of fiduciary duty? It depends….

Although attorneys have a fiduciary duty toward their clients, most errors and omissions by attorneys do not rise to the level of a breach of fiduciary duty. How it that possible? Legal malpractice claims generally involve questions about the quality

What percent of civil cases make it to trial?

Filing a civil suit generally means the plaintiff is seeking monetary damages from the defendant. Sometimes, the plaintiff might be seeking other kinds of relief such as an injunction, but whatever is being sought, the filing of a complaint begins

Suing someone else’s attorney for legal malpractice: what’s aggrievement got to do with it?

I recently read an interesting case that applied the concept of “aggrievement” to a legal malpractice matter. It was interesting because “aggrievement” primarily is mentioned in cases having to do with challenges to administrative agency decision or governmental actions.  What is

You have a legal malpractice expert? Great …. but that’s still NOT good enough…

One of the reasons why legal malpractice cases are generally complex is because a client suing a lawyer needs to hire at least two lawyers, the one to bring the suit, and another lawyer from another firm to be the


Taking a brief break from blogging, but will return shortly…  

How to protect yourself from a lawyer’s retaining lien

In my previous blog post, I briefly discussed the little known (at least to clients) retaining lien. That’s because most lawyers don’t tell clients about this. By the time most clients find out about the retaining lien, it is usually

What is a retaining lien, and how do lawyers get away with it?

Our legal system has its faults, but it is still the best way of resolving differences. At least it’s an improvement over dueling.  Unfortunately, the public’s perception of the ethics and honesty of lawyers is low (although not as low

How Albert Einstein, of all people, may be helpful in collecting more damages in your legal malpractice case….

One thing to consider during litigation is whether you may be entitled to collect interest on damages. Why? Litigation can take a long time, a very long time. If you can only collect damages and not interest on the damages,

SURPRISE ENDING: A court found that a particular legal malpractice plaintiff did not need an expert but only because the plaintiff spent seven years pursuing a legal malpractice case that he did not have….

I pointed out in an earlier post that legal malpractice plaintiffs almost always need to retain one or more experts to testify on their behalf. A failure to get an expert in a legal malpractice case is almost always a recipe for

How long does it take to litigate a lawsuit from start to finish? Could it take … 1 year … 3 years … 28 years … 48 years or … 716 years? (Amazingly, the answer seems to be… yes.)

Potential legal malpractice litigants need to consider many factors before actually commencing a lawsuit. One factor is understanding (and accepting) that the litigation process may take a long time. For a legal malpractice plaintiff who seeks justice and a day

May my negligent lawyer blame ME for his or her legal malpractice?

The short answer to the question is a qualified yes (at least in some states). While clients are not liable for legal malpractice, there are circumstances where the client may have done something or failed to do something that contributed

How do I know if I have a “good” legal malpractice case?

“Do I have a good legal malpractice case?” I am often asked that question by potential clients in our first conversation. And while that question is perfectly reasonable, unfortunately, the answer is often more complicated than a simple yes or no. Part

Update: the “American Rule” and legal malpractice

In a prior post, I briefly talked about what is known as the “American Rule.” That “rule” applies in litigation and basically means that unless there is a specific law in your state, or you have a contractual agreement, each

My attorney’s legal malpractice caused extreme stress, emotional upset, or worse: may I sue the attorney for punitive damages?

The most common purpose for suing someone, whether you are suing an attorney or someone else, is to be compensated for any and all financial losses you suffered. These kinds of damages are referred to as compensatory. To `give a simple example,

The most misunderstood part of a legal malpractice lawsuit: the “suit within a suit” a/k/a the “case within a case”

Any time you hire a lawyer, there is at least the potential the lawyer will make a mistake. This is true whether the lawyer is representing you in a business transaction, a real estate matter, civil litigation, divorce, probate, or any

In Connecticut, do attorneys have “a license to lie” during court proceedings?

According to one Connecticut Supreme Court justice, the answer to the question–  do Connecticut attorneys have “a license to lie” during court proceedings– is at least a qualified yes In Simms v. Seaman, 23 A.3d 1 (2011), a divided Connecticut Supreme

Legal Malpractice litigation: some of what you need to know BEFORE you decide whether to sue your lawyer

Legal malpractice plaintiffs should understand what they are getting into before they make a final decision to actually litigate a dispute with an attorney. I do this in part with my clients by explaining the “Big Litigation Picture”, which includes five phases

What are the chances that MY attorney/law firm is committing legal malpractice and I don’t know about it?

If a doctor is negligent, you will almost always know it. The impact of a doctor’s malpractice will affect your physical health sooner or later. If an attorney is negligent, unfortunately, the chances are good that you, as a client,

Does the statute of limitations for legal malpractice place clients at an unfair disadvantage?

What should be the easiest question to answer– what is the statute of limitations for a cause of action– is often a complicated mess. It is surprising how many cases rise or fall on a determination of what the statute

Can you collect legal fees as part of legal malpractice damages if you win your case?

Whether your legal malpractice case is being handled on a hourly basis, flat fee, partial contingency, or full contingency, an important potential source of damages are the legal fees you incur to pursue the malpractice case. However, there is something