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Tag Archives: legal malpractice

The Importance of Causation in Legal Malpractice

By Robert Ross |

CAUSATION IS ONE OF THE ELEMENTS OF A LEGAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM The elements of a prima facie claim for legal malpractice are: — the existence of a duty; — the breach of that duty; — damages (suffered by the claimant); and — causation (specifically, the breach of the relevant duty must be the cause of… Read More »

When Has a Lawyer Breached His or Her Legal Duty of Care?

By Robert Ross |

HOW DOES BREACH OF DUTY RELATE TO LEGAL MALPRACTICE? Legal malpractice (also called professional negligence) involves a lawyer’s breach (violation) of a legally mandated duty of care. Specifically, a breach of the professional standard of care that is applicable to the relevant situation. When evaluating a lawyer’s potential breach of duty, the issue is whether the… Read More »

Who Can Sue a Lawyer for Malpractice?

By Robert Ross |

GENERALLY, ONLY CLIENTS CAN SUE A LAWYER FOR MALPRACTICE In California, the general rule is that privity of contract (i.e., a contractual relationship) is a required element of standing to bring a malpractice claim. Put another way, only clients (generally, former clients) can usually bring malpractice claims against lawyers in California. The necessary privity of… Read More »

Understanding the Scope of Representation

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS THE “SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION”? The phrase “scope of representation” refers to the boundaries of the attorney-client relationship. More specifically, the “scope of representation” is the set of matters for which the attorney has agreed to represent the client. In most cases, an attorney’s representation of a client is limited in scope, and… Read More »

What is Legal Malpractice?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS “LEGAL MALPRACTICE”? The term “legal malpractice” refers to the professional negligence of an attorney within an attorney-client relationship. Less formally, “legal malpractice” occurs when an attorney acts negligently in the course of representing a client. It is a form of negligence, which is a tort (a “civil wrong”). Strictly speaking, legal malpractice is… Read More »

Legal Malpractice FAQ

By Robert Ross |

Here are some commonly-asked questions (and answers) about legal malpractice:*   Q: WHAT IS LEGAL MALPRACTICE? A: “legal malpractice” is the term for professional negligence committed by an lawyer. Less formally, “legal malpractice” occurs when a lawyer commits negligence in the course of representing a client.   Q: IS LEGAL MALPRACTICE A CRIME? A:… Read More »

Expert Testimony in Legal Malpractice Cases

By Robert Ross |

WHEN IS EXPERT TESTIMONY REQUIRED IN MALPRACTICE CASES? Generally, expert testimony is not required in legal malpractice cases if the lawyer’s act or omission was so clearly a breach of duty and contrary to accepted standards that a jury (or judge, as trier of fact) does not require expert testimony to find malpractice. Where the… Read More »

Why Are Legal Malpractice Cases Difficult?

By Robert Ross |

Many times, non-lawyers believe that any mistake a lawyer makes is grounds for a legal malpractice claim, or that legal malpractice lawsuits should be “easy” to prove. However, in most cases, legal malpractice actions are difficult, costly, and time-consuming, for several important reasons: Not every legal loss results from malpractice. Distinguishing actionable malpractice (professional… Read More »

Who Can Sue a Lawyer For Malpractice?

By Robert Ross |

GENERALLY, AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS A PREREQUISITE FOR MALPRACTICE CLAIMS. Most legal malpractice claims fall under the heading of “professional negligence” and, like other forms of negligence claims, require the existence (and breach) of some duty between the parties. In most cases, the duty required to support a malpractice action springs from the existence… Read More »

What is “Judgmental Immunity” in Legal Malpractice?

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS HAVE A DUTY TO ACT REASONABLY IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW. Generally, lawyers are expected to possess the degree of knowledge, and exercise the degree of reasonable care, that competent lawyers exercise when engaged in the practice of law. California lawyers are also supposed to know, or to discover, rules of law which can… Read More »

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