About Legal Malpractice Attorney Howard Altschuler

Selecting a legal malpractice lawyer to represent you is an
important decision.Depending on the complexity of the legal malpractice case, you may be working with the attorney that you hire for several years or more. It is important to do your homework, interview several attorneys, and have all your questions answered before you make a final decision.

I am a legal malpractice attorney practicing primarily in Connecticut (though I am admitted to other state and federal courts). I represent individual and business clients in a very wide range of legal malpractice and fee dispute cases, from the relatively simple, and most often, to the very complex. Please see specific examples below. I have been an attorney since 1993. 

In addition to admission to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania state courts, I am admitted to the United States Supreme Court as well as the Second, Third, and Ninth Circuit federal courts of appeal (covering New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, California, and other states).

FYI, I take on only a limited number of cases at any one time. After our first free initial phone call where I obtain the basic facts of your case, I will send you an email briefly summarizing the conversation, and options to proceed. No legal opinions are provided as part of this initial communication until such time as you actually retain my services.

Please call and leave a message at (203) 403-7033 or send an email via the contact form.

More details:  

My willingness to take on challenging legal malpractice cases as a solo practitioner has roots going back to my legal education and earlier. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993, one of the top ten law schools in the country. Before that, I attended the Yale Divinity School (I did about a year of the two-year Yale Divinity masters degree program before deciding to attend law school), Southern Connecticut State University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Polytechnic of Central London

LAW SCHOOL: My interest in legal ethics and in challenging
lawyers who do not practice what they preach began in law school. Partly due to my experience with political action in the 1960s and 1970s, my personal development, and my studying ethical issues at the Yale Divinity School, as a member of student government at the University of Pennsylvania I often challenged the status quo. As a result of my student government activism and success in obtaining at least some changes at the University of Pennsylvania,
my classmates elected me class president.

While I will provide more details of what happened in law school in an upcoming blog post, one thing I learned early in law school is that ethics and the practice of law do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

CLASS PRESIDENT: As class president, I gave a commencement
speech at the University of Pennsylvania Law school graduation in 1993 on the issue of ethics in the practice of law and the “Spirit of the Law”. The Law School administration and the professors were, for the most part, unhappy with the criticisms that I made, but every word of my speech was accurate.

COMMENCEMENT SPEECH: If you want to see me in action (at least in May 1993 on literally my first day as a lawyer), I have posted my speech on YouTube. (Or, you can scroll down to the bottom of this page and see the video there.) My speech had enough of an impact that it was published in the National Law Journal the following month in June 1993, which you can read here: Speech

GRADUATION AND BAR ADMISSIONS: I graduated law school in 1993, and then sat for and passed four bar exams. I was admitted to practice in 1993 (Connecticut) and 1994 (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania). I began private practice immediately. The first few years, I primarily worked for other attorneys, such as handling appeals, including to the United States Supreme Court. I was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court in 2000. I am also admitted to practice in the 2nd, 3rd, and 9th Federal Courts of Appeal, and I am admitted to practice in the following federal trial courts: District of Connecticut, District of New Jersey, and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. 

However, based on my experience in law school, legal malpractice was an area suited to my background and convictions.

I began to receive inquires about legal malpractice cases and since about 1997, my primary legal work has been legal malpractice related, representing clients who are in fee disputes with attorneys, or who may have ethical claims against attorneys.

KINDS OF CASES I HAVE HANDLED: While specific details of my cases are confidential, I have handled a wide range of cases such as:

  • Representing a group of about 60 individuals against a law firm for legal malpractice regarding a lawsuit the group had against several multi-billion dollar  corporations;
  • Representing a business owner suing multiple law firms for legal malpractice in failing  to properly handle claims against a city government;
  • Representing  a corporation and the shareholders in legal malpractice claims involving the mishandling of a multi million dollar business transaction, along with a dispute over legal fees, and ethical issues;
  • Representing  a number of different legal malpractice clients over the years  dissatisfied with divorce settlement terms and the advice given by their attorneys at the time of settlement;
  • Representing  an individual with legal malpractice claims against an attorney related to  a conservatorship hearing;
  • Consulting  with numerous individuals and businesses prior to litigation to advise on  available options and courses of action;
  • Advising client on a case involving allegations that a major financial  institution fraudulently induced the client to invest funds  inappropriately, and the mishandling of the client’s case by several law firms in two different states;
  • Established  new precedent in the Appellate Division, First Department of New York, that under certain circumstances a parent has standing to raise legal  malpractice as a defense to a dispute over legal fees charged by a court-appointed law Guardian representing the parent’s children
  • (In a non legal malpractice but very interesting case, I had the honor of  drafting a very detailed complaint in a civil  rights action on behalf of lead attorneys Johnnie Cochran, Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Linda Kenney.)

As noted elsewhere on this website, with rare exceptions, I only handle legal malpractice cases, breaches of fiduciary duty by lawyers (such as conflicts of interest or breaches of confidentiality), fee disputes with law firms, and ethical issues involving lawyers.

COMPLEXITY OF LEGAL MALPRACTICE CASES: While legal malpractice is one of the most complicated areas of law, it is also one of the most interesting, partly because of its complexity. Each legal malpractice case is two cases in one, the first case involving what the attorney did or failed to do, and the second case involving what the attorney was hired to do in the first place. 

In other words, you may have hired an attorney to handle a business transaction, write a will, negotiate a lease, represent you in a divorce, administer your estate, or anything else that requires an attorney. Part of the legal malpractice case will be establishing whether an error was made, and part of it will be proving what the damages are, that is, proving that if your attorney had properly handled your legal transaction or law suit properly in the first place the outcome would have been better for you financially.

CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSES: All four states where I am admitted require continuing legal education (Connecticut does not have such a requirement at the present time). As part of this requirement, I have taken numerous courses and workshops throughout the years, with a focus on litigation and negotiation skills. For example, I was thrilled to take a workshop led by Gerry Spence, one of the most renowned trial attorneys in America, the Clarence Darrow of our time. I also spent a week at a trial program sponsored by NITA, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. 

Because legal malpractice may involve any conceivable area of law, as a result I get to learn about many areas of law, not just one.  Some of the areas of law and legal practice that I have studied over the years since law school:

  • 100 Days to Trial
  • Accelerated Judgment
  • Advertising on the Internet
  • Alone on a Desert Island with Volumes of Data? An Overview of Tools to Make Your Task Manageable
  • Appeals, Removals, & Class Actions – Current Issues
  • Are ethics standards for government lawyers different?
  • Are you ready? What lawyers need to know about emergency preparedness and disaster recovery
  • Asset Tracing In Divorce Engagements
  • Attorney-Client Privilege and the Duty of Confidentiality
  • Bankruptcy & Divorce: The Worst of Both Worlds
  • Blogging and Tweets: Social Networking in the Workplace
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Business Valuation & Damage Calculation for Litigators
  • Chapter 11 Reorganizations: General Overview
  • Children, divorce and custody: lawyers and mental health professionals working together
  • Civil Motion Practice
  • Common Landlord Tenant Issues in Bankruptcy
  • Contingent Fees: Access to Courts
  • Cross-examination of financial experts
  • Current Developments in Conflicts of Interest
  • Current Issues in Litigation & Discovery
  • Day on Trial
  • Defending Against Foreclosure Rescue Scams
  • Disclosure and Discovery Issues
  • Discovery in Family Law Proceedings
  • Discovery Strategies & the Revised Federal Rules
  • Dispositive Motions in Federal Court
  • Divesting Deposition Skills Terence MacCarthy
  • Drafting and negotiating property settlement agreements
  • eDiscovery is Changing the Relationship Between Law Firms and their Corporate Clients
  • eDiscovery Issues & Trends
  • eDiscovery Project Management Principles and Processes
  • E-Discovery Strategies & the Revised Federal Rules
  • Effective Storytelling & Catastrophic Loss Cases for Litigators
  • Emerging Best Practices for Legal Holds
  • Enforcing Judgments
  • Estate planning issues in matrimonial law
  • Ethical aspects of providing legal advice and legal information
  • Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation 2010
  • Ethical Issues in Social media
  • Ethical Issues in the Practice of Real Estate Law
  • Ethics in Client Development: Gaining Business the Right Way
  • Ethics: Issues for In-House Counsel
  • Evidence for family lawyers
  • Executing eDiscovery Inside the Organization
  • Federal appellate practice without tears: a primer for New Jersey counsel
  • Federal Trial Judges Discuss Effective Strategies
  • Handling the bitter divorce case
  • Handling the critical elements of a divorce case
  • Hot Topics in Commercial Leasing
  • Hot Topics in Ethics
  • How to develop witness testimony to fit into your trial theme”’
  • How to Fight the IRS from the Audit to the Tax Court: A Tool Box for the Practitioner
  • Impaired lawyer from the Law Firm’s Point of View
  • Impeachment of Witnesses and Cross of Experts
  • Introduction to equitable distribution
  • Issues involved in Jury Selection, Jury Charges, and Jury Trials in Federal Court with view of federal judges
  • Keys to Litigation Management Success
  • Killer Cross Examination with Terrance MacCarthy
  • Law Practice Management
  • Legal Considerations When Assisting a Client Form a Business
  • Legal Negotiation
  • Legal-Ethics Practical Consideration
  • Litigating interstate child custody, visitation and support cases
  • Litigation Coaching & Litigation Consulting: A New Resource for Trial Lawyers
  • Litigation Issues: MDL Consolidation & Comments On The Judiciary
  • Litigation Management: Driving Great Results
  • LPM Strategies: Project Management, Case Evaluation, & Fee Arrangements
  • Medicaid litigation update
  • New York CPLR
  • New York State Court Practice: Responding to Pleadings
  • Non-Federal Question Class Actions overview, Initial Procedure Consideration: Venue, Removal and Consolidation
  • Overview & Structure and Hierarchy of the New York State and Federal Courts
  • Practical aspects of child custody/removal and time-sharing litigation
  • Practical brief writing skills
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Preparing For A Bankruptcy Filing
  • Pre-Trial And Trial
  • Preventing disciplinary complaints: advice from a prosecutor and defense attorney
  • Primer on divorce mediation
  • Proving and defending damages
  • Realities of Alternative Fee Arrangements
  • Recovering Economic Damages Done By Divorce
  • Representing Children in civil cases involving domestic violence
  • Rule 11 and Sanctions
  • Section 363 Section 363 Sales in Commercial Bankruptcies
  • Short Sales & Other Options to Avoid Foreclosure
  • Substance Abuse & the Legal Profession
  • Successful Settlement Techniques
  • Successful settlement techniques
  • Tactics and Strategies for the Enforcement of Judgments
  • Tax aspects of divorce
  • Terrifying Trial Tactics Terence MacCarthy
  • The Buck Stops at the Boardroom
  • The Elimination of Bias in the Practice of Law
  • The ethics of technology-based delivery models
  • The Importance of Mobility as a Driving Force for the Successful Practice of Law
  • The Preparation of Trial Witnesses’ from Trial Consultant’s Viewpoint
  • The Zen of Direct and Cross-Examination
  • Tips From Top Business Trial Attorneys
  • Trial Strategies with Henry Miller
  • Trial Topics: Ten Commandments of Cross Examination; Jurors + Internet = Trouble
  • Unbundled Legal Services: Ethics & Best Practices
  • Understanding business valuations
  • Understanding Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcies
  • Use of Experts – Latest Developments
  • Using Technology To Dismantle a Criminal Case
  • Valuation of professional practices: a family law dilemma
  • Valuing a Business’ Personal Goodwill in Divorce
  • When Spouse Holds Personal Business
  • Windy City Litigation Management Conference
  • Winning by Persuasion:
  • Winning Evidence I
  • Winning Evidence II
  • Winning openings and summations
  • Winning Ways at Trial

COMMENCEMENT SPEECH VIDEO: This is literally my first day as a lawyer, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in May 1993:

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