When I am asked what I do for a living when meeting people who do not know me, I respond that I am an attorney and I do “legal malpractice.”
I usually see a quizzical look on the face of the person who asked (because most non-lawyers are not familiar with legal malpractice). So I add: “That means I sue lawyers for a living.” There is usually a slight hesitation and then laughter when the person realizes that I sue lawyers and law firms, and not doctors, corporations, or anyone else. The typical delayed response is “You are probably not very popular with attorneys.”
That is something of an understatement. In the course of my more than 22 years of focusing my practice on legal malpractice, fee disputes, breach of fiduciary duty, and attorney ethics, I have been pushed, cursed and yelled at and worse, by attorneys on the receiving end of a legal malpractice or fee dispute action. Though my work can be hazardous at times, if you review my background, you may understand why I seek justice for clients whose attorneys who have harmed them by negligent or unethical conduct.
Lawyers, like everyone else, make mistakes. However, because law is generally very complicated, sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a lawyer’s mistake actually damaged you. A legal malpractice action usually has to prove that the lawyer not only made a mistake, but that the mistake contributed to your damage.
This is sometimes referred to as the “case with any case.” If you bring a legal malpractice action, you really have to prove two different cases at the same time, one concerning the lawyer’s mistake, and the second case proving that the outcome would have been different if the mistake had not been made. Because a legal malpractice case is really two cases in one, legal malpractice is often considered to be one of the most difficult areas of law.
I am one of a small number of attorneys in America whose practice is solely dedicated to representing plaintiffs in legal malpractice cases. Most attorneys who handle legal malpractice cases usually also practice in other areas of law. I have been representing clients in legal malpractice and related cases almost exclusively since 1997.
In an upcoming blog, I will give specific examples of some of the many different ways an attorney can commit legal malpractice.
Author: Howard Altschuler
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(Disclaimer: Please note that nothing in this blog or website is legal advice, and this post does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal malpractice issues, fee dispute, or ethical concerns that you may have. Thanks!)
Copyright (c) 2012 By Howard Altschuler, All Rights Reserved