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El Segundo California Legal Malpractice Blog

Signs you may have hired the wrong lawyer

No one wants to be in a situation where they need the services of a lawyer, but when the need arises, that last thing you need is an attorney who isn’t up to the job.

There is an old expression that one of the most expensive purchases you can ever make is hiring a cheap attorney. While there are many excellent pro bono lawyers, there are also those whose performances are less than adequate.

Can my attorney withdraw from my case?

When you hire an attorney in California, you and your lawyer make an agreement to cooperate on your case and share necessary information. Your attorney should also inform you about the legal process, what is expected of you, what you should expect from him or her and your financial obligations. When your attorney is thorough and ethical, your chances are excellent that you will not be a victim of legal malpractice. However, you may wonder what can happen if your attorney decides to resign from your case.

Withdrawing from a case is not as simple as saying, “I quit,” as the American Bar Association explains. Your attorney has contractual obligations to you. However, your attorney also has the discretion to decide if your best interests will no longer be served with him or her on your case, as well as to protect his or her own professional interests if an unexpected complication turns up.

How to prove you are a victim of legal malpractice

If you have been involved in an accident or situation that has left you suffering in some form or another, you may have chosen to enlist the help of an attorney to advocate for you in your effort to get compensation. However, imagine your frustration and shock when you discover that you have been taken advantage of by someone who was supposed to be protecting you. At Lange Law Corporation, we are experienced in handling legal malpractice cases in California. 

Identifying whether you have been the victim of legal malpractice requires you to look closely at what you have been promised and what the outcome actually is. If you have evidence that your attorney is actually working against you, or has been negligently handling your case which has resulted in additional loss, you may feel more confident pursuing a malpractice claim. 

Can a paralegal’s job result in legal malpractice?

As you do your research on attorneys when you need representation, you may notice statements such as, “Each case is handled personally by an attorney and not a paralegal.” Paralegals have an important job in the industry, but statements such as these can give the impression that their assistance is unnecessary, impersonal or unprofessional. It is important that you and other California residents understand the job of a paralegal, as well as the factors that may contribute to professional malpractice.

What is a paralegal, you may wonder? The Houston Chronicle breaks down the typical paralegal’s job as follows:

  • Gathering evidence and facts for a case
  • Drafting legal documents and managing files
  • Assisting lawyers in organizing trials and coordinating with the trial team in court
  • Filing important paperwork with the court before deadlines
  • Helping with appeals and settlements after a trial
  • Communicating between clients and attorneys

California lawyer suspended after stipulating to malpractice

Attorneys in California owe certain duties to their clients. According to FindLaw, among the most fundamental of these are to perform their legal work adequately and competently and to respond to attempts to communicate by the court, the opposing counsel and the client in a timely manner. 

As of April 2019, the State Bar Court of California has suspended a California personal injury attorney for one year, with a two-year term of probation to follow, after he stipulated to multiple acts of misconduct against two separate clients over a span of approximately five years. 

Is it legal malpractice if my lawyer is a jerk?

Legal malpractice is a complicated area that can be confusing even for those in the field to fully understand. Therefore, it is important that you and other California residents obtain counsel that is professional and ethical. When you are seeking legal assistance, your friends or associates may inform you that a certain attorney is known for not being the nicest lawyer around, even to his own clients. If your attorney is rude and disrespectful to you, does that count as legal malpractice?

Numerous specific behaviors qualify as legal malpractice, according to FindLaw. These include incompetence, dishonesty, lack of communication, misusing clients’ money, failing to show up for meetings or meet deadlines and performing inadequate legal work. As you can see, these actions can be interpreted broadly. If your attorney is unfriendly or even rude but gets the work done accurately and in a timely, professional manner, you stand less of a chance of accusing him of malpractice.

Is there a problem if my attorney once was a judge?

There are many different ways a California attorney can have a conflict of interest. One of them may arise if an attorney representing you had also served in some capacity as a judge. As a client, you may be concerned if the legal counsel that represents you also had judged a case much like your own. Under certain circumstances, this kind of relationship can violate rules of legal conduct.

The California Rules of Professional Conduct state that an attorney is not permitted to represent you if you as a client had been a part of a matter in which the attorney acted as a judge. Specifically, the attorney cannot have participated “personally” and “substantially” as a judge. A substantial contribution is when an attorney’s involvement was significant, though not necessarily determinative, to the outcome of the matter. Personal participation can involve the attorney’s direct involvement or the participation of a subordinate.

Is legal malpractice malicious?

California residents like you turn to legal professionals at some of the hardest points in your life. You trust them to be the lifeline and help you in your time of need. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. We at Lange Law Corporation are here to represent you if your time with a legal professional has ended in you filing a legal malpractice complaint.

In cases of legal malpractice, are the actions of the legal professional intentional or done with maliciousness in heart? This may not be the case. Legal malpractice, by definition, is simply the act of a professional failing to perform duties to the standard that is considered acceptable in their given field. For example, if an attorney failed to help you in court because they did not research your case properly, that could potentially be legal malpractice.

Valid reasons to claim legal malpractice

Californians trust their attorneys to help them through their trickiest legal situations. However, not every attorney will tackle the case well. Some may even perform poorly enough that their client is left questioning whether or not they have a legal malpractice case on their hands.

Malpractice is defined in the Legal Dictionary as a breach of conduct or care by a professional. In the case of legal malpractice, the one doing the breaching is the lawyer or attorney. However, in order to truly be considered legal malpractice, certain requirements need to be met.

Which law firms are busiest during the summer?

Few can deny that most legal malpractice cases stem from attorneys who miss their deadlines. It’s an easily avoidable mistake that even clients who aren’t too familiar with law can call them out on. It’s especially inexcusable in a state like California where the cutoff score for bar exams is almost 100 points above the national average.

One of the most common excuses attorneys have for missing their deadlines is that they were too busy with other clients and cases at the time. This isn’t enough to justify costing their clients thousands or millions of dollars, but it does give you something to be cautious about during your search for legal representation. If you have a case in the following categories, you should know why summer might be the busiest months of the year for law firms that specialize in these practice areas:

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222 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 2000
El Segundo, CA 90245

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