Having the need for an attorney often signals difficulty in managing life's circumstances. Whether the challenge is an ongoing dispute you want to resolve or adoption proceedings you are not sure how to navigate, you hire a lawyer because you need assistance. California lawyers and others advertise themselves as go-to resources for just such occasions, and you presumably enlist the services of the one you believe will best represent you.
What happens when that attorney falls down on the job? Maybe he or she does not communicate well or often enough; maybe the bill seems padded with expenses you do not understand.
You may have a case, but you may not. FindLaw does not suggest running out and filing a claim as soon as your representation makes a decision you disagree with or moves forward in a way you feel unsure about. To be successful in a legal malpractice suit, you have to prove your attorney acted negligently. You have to be able to show he or she made a gross error that cost you the case.
If you believe both of the above statements are true, you may consider arbitration as an initial option before you take your attorney to court. "Arbitration," FindLaw explains, "is a procedure that is used to settle disputes between you and your attorney in the presence of a neutral, third party."
Several things to consider prior to arbitration are the following:
- Look at what your contract says about settling disputes - arbitration may be the only listed option
- Find out if arbitration is binding or nonbinding
FindLaw suggests nonbinding as a better option since you could still go to court if arbitration failed. The suggestion is not intended as legal advice, however. It simply informs the public regarding legal malpractice.