Legal malpractice is commonly thought of as professional negligence, but it can occur in any area of the law and can actually take many forms such as simple negligence, gross negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and elder abuse.
Clients can be damaged by lawyers in many ways such as:
- Failing to file a claim prior to expiration of the statute of limitations;
- Failing to conduct and/or respond to discovery;
- Failing to designate expert witnesses and/or call proper percipient witnesses;
- Succumbing to a conflict of interest by putting the lawyer’s own interests above the client’s or putting one client’s interest over another’s;
- Drafting errors in documents and/or agreements
The most common types of mistakes are:
- Failing to research and learn the substantive law;
- Failing to properly inform a client and obtain client consent;
- Failing to calendar events and missing a deadline;
- Failing to conduct sufficient discovery and/or investigation
Additionally, legal malpractice can occur by the taking of client property through theft and overbilling, or other intentional wrong doing such as libel, fraud, malicious prosecution, breach of fiduciary duty or elder abuse.
In California, except for cases of fraud, legal malpractice cases must generally be brought within one year from the time the client knew or should have known through reasonable diligence of the legal malpractice. This means that the injured party must file suit within that time period. There are, however, some variables that may extend the time for filing suit.
Ross Law has represented and advised clients in a variety of legal malpractice matters against their former attorneys, including claims for failing to file claims within the statute of limitations, succumbing to their conflict of interest, committing drafting errors in important documents and agreements, and engaging in malicious prosecution.
If you believe that you may have a legal malpractice case, contact Ross Law by telephone 310-626-4456.