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El Segundo California Legal Malpractice Blog

How should an attorney perform ethically with my assets?

Depending on the case involved, a California attorney may hold some of the assets or property of a client for a period of time. According to the American Bar Association, the kind of care an attorney should exercise when holding the assets of a client should be consistent with how a professional fiduciary would perform. A failure on the part of an attorney to demonstrate this care may qualify as legal malpractice.

One such instance of malpractice is commingling. Attorneys should take care not to mix assets of other parties with their own. This means that any property and assets owned by a client should not be joined with the business or personal assets owned by the attorney. If the attorney has possession of securities, these should be maintained someplace secure like a safe deposit box. Some attorneys maintain a client’s money in a separate trust account.

Filing a complaint against your California attorney

When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a California legal matter, you likely do so with the utmost confidence that the person you chose will advocate on your behalf and act with your best interests in mind. Regrettably, however, some attorneys fail to do this, and if yours is among them, you may want to seek recourse. At Lange Law Corporation, we understand how frustrating it can be when your attorney drops the ball, and we have helped many people who found themselves in similar situations pursue solutions that fit their needs.

According to the State Bar of California, if you wish to file a complaint against your attorney, you will need to send your complaint to the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel, at which point it will undergo review. If the State Bar lawyer who reviews your complaint finds that it lacks merit, the case will close, and you will receive notification of the closure in the mail.

Why might an attorney miss a deadline?

One of the most common forms of legal malpractice occurs when an attorney misses a deadline that is crucial to their client’s case. Maybe they overestimated how much time they have to gather evidence or took too long filing the complaint to begin with.

Even though many California lawyers are aware of the consequences that come with procrastination, plenty of them still fail to meet deadlines and put their clients in jeopardy. While several of these instances are due to inexperience, there are many scenarios where an attorney may let get something else get in the way of their duties. Knowing what could potentially distract them could give you some ideas on how to carefully select the right attorney for your case.

When negligent legal professionals deny wrongdoing

We have examined multiple issues related to legal malpractice on this blog, from some of the reasons why legal professionals are more likely to make mistakes and mishandle cases to the consequences associated with legal malpractice. Unfortunately, these situations can be very difficult for those who are subjected to legal malpractice, and some may be unsure of their options or decide to remain silent for various reasons. For example, a negligent legal professional may deny any wrongdoing and tell a client that they do not have any options. However, this is not always true.

Negligent legal professionals may deny wrongdoing for a number of reasons. Some may be worried about the potential consequences of a client holding them responsible for their behavior, or they may be worried about how their reputation will be impacted by such a case. Regardless, those who have suffered as a result of legal malpractice deserve justice. Legal malpractice can shatter life in many ways, resulting in unnecessarily high levels of stress, financial strain and unfavorable outcomes in crucial cases. Our law office believes that those who are responsible for these hardships have to be held accountable.

Making incompetent lawyers pay

Nobody who practices law in California wants to see other bar-certified attorneys fail. However, we believe at Lange Law Corporation that it would be even worse to let negligent or incompetent lawyers get away with their failures without facing some sort of challenge.

If you believe that your attorney did something wrong, and that the wrongdoing led to damages, you could deserve repayment. How much would likely depend on the extent of your injury.

What are some examples of legal malpractice?

When taking a case to court in California, you expect your legal team to dilligently advocate on your behalf. Unfortunately, some attorneys are not on the side of their clients, either due to negligence or intentional misuse of the law. This is considered legal malpractice and it can have a devastating impact on a client in many different ways. Identifying legal malpractice can be a bit challenging, which is why HG.org offers the following examples.

Attorney fraud is a relatively straightforward concept, as it entails intentional client deception to meet a financial goal. A lawyer may also fail in his or her application of the law. For instance, if there is a statute that could help your case and your attorney neglects to utilize it during the proceedings, a lawsuit for malpractice is possible. Failure to apply a law can be intentional or unintentional, i.e. caused by a lack of legal knowledge in general.

Reasons real estate attorneys may face malpractice litigation

Like many other types of professionals, attorneys in California usually carry some type of malpractice insurance to cover their liability if they are found negligent in a legal malpractice lawsuit. Legal malpractice insurance companies keep track of the types of claims that are filed most often. According to the Insurance Journal, in recent years, real estate is one of the top four practice areas generating malpractice claims.

The Hanover Insurance Group cites the American Bar Association's data regarding the top claims against real estate attorneys.

Law firm factors that influence likelihood of legal malpractice

As we’ve discussed on this website, legal malpractice can come in numerous forms. You can sue an attorney for missing deadlines, having their substance abuse problems affect their work or for bad social media behavior that’s detrimental to both you and the case. Despite this, the most common lawsuits in this field often involve either a failure to apply law or a conflict of interest.

It is nearly impossible to try and predict when an attorney or the firm they work for will commit legal malpractice. However, studies show that there are a couple of recurring trends when it comes to what type of firms commit certain malpractices. While looking for an attorney for your case in California, it may be important to keep in mind which firms are more likely to make costly mistakes in trial.

Laziness cited for cause of legal malpractice cases

When people hire an attorney to help them with their legal cases, they assume that the attorney will work hard, and use their skills and knowledge to represent their clients’ case to the best of their ability. With a thorough knowledge of state and federal laws and statutes, lawyers should be on task, finding new leads that will help their client succeed in the end. Sadly, this is not always the case, and not all attorneys are diligent in putting their clients’ best interests first. Laziness, when it comes to legal representation, may lead to a wrongful conviction or an otherwise lost case.

Legal malpractice occurs when a client believes he or she may have received a different outcome in their case had the attorney had been on task and qualified. When dealing with a case, a poor attorney may be too lazy or overloaded with work to put the time and effort forth to work on the case. Rather than declining to take on the case due to their inability to properly represent his or her client, the attorney may simply fail to apply the proper principals necessary to receive a favorable outcome. With a lackadaisical approach, the attorney may miss critical deadlines or fail to submit documents necessary to the case. All of these shortcomings could lead to a catastrophic outcome in the case and may constitute legal malpractice.

A statute of limitations exists for legal malpractice claims

When you pay someone to represent you in a California legal matter, you likely do so with the utmost confidence that the person you are trusting to advocate on your behalf will do exactly that. Regrettably, however, lawyers, like other professionals, are not immune to making errors, but certain mistakes made by attorneys can mean considerable hardship for their clients. At the Lange Law Corporation, we recognize that you only have a certain amount of time to come forward when your lawyer fails to provide adequate representation, and we have helped many clients whose lawyers dropped the ball pursue appropriate recourse in the aftermath.

According to the American Bar Association, you typically have one year to come forward when an attorney you hired to represent you does something that may be grounds for a malpractice suit. In some cases, however, the one-year period does not begin until the attorney stops representing you, in which case you will have one year from the final day of representation to file a legal malpractice claim against this individual.

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

Toll Free: 800-481-3980
Phone: 310-955-4693
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