Is denying a case considered legal malpractice?

You may assume that when you interview an attorney and decide you would like to work with him or her, the attorney’s job is to accept your case without question. If your prospective attorney decides to decline taking you on as a client, you may understandably be confused and upset. However, is it legal malpractice if an attorney refuses to accept your case? You and other California residents may want to know the answer.

According to the American Bar Association, lawyers are held to a high standard when it comes to accepting cases. They are advised not to accept a case if they are unable to represent a client efficiently and competently, if they might not be able to complete the case or if there would be a conflict of interest. Some reasons an attorney or firm may decide to pass on your case would include the following:

  • They feel your case does not have a strong chance of winning.
  • There is a concern you might not be able to pay their fees or the recovery amount would be insufficient.
  • The circumstances surrounding your case may tarnish their reputation or give them bad publicity.
  • They believe you may be difficult to work with or feel your partnership just does not click.

It can be frustrating if you are denied representation, but a refusal to work with you does not necessarily constitute legal malpractice. However, there are numerous examples outlined in this blog that qualify as malpractice. Therefore, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.