Can your attorney’s emotions result in legal malpractice?

The court process is often an emotional matter, regardless of which side you are on. California lawyers are human too, and they are not immune to feeling strong emotions about the things going on in their lives, which can include the court cases they are involved in. While it may be understandable for you to become emotionally overwhelmed in court, it is your attorney’s responsibility to remain professional and composed. 

FindLaw explains that your attorney must adhere to certain ethical and professional standards to avoid a situation that could be construed as legal malpractice. Can your lawyer’s own feelings, opinions and emotions lead to malpractice? The answer depends on whether he or she keeps personal feelings out of the case or allows them to damage the outcome. Some examples of an attorney’s emotional behavior that could be harmful to your case include the following:

  • Disrupting proceedings in court with angry or hysterical outbursts, resulting in warnings from the judge
  • Holding grudges or getting upset and refusing to communicate with you or meet other obligations
  • Developing an opinion that favors the opposing side and becoming lukewarm in representing you
  • Yelling, swearing or making personal threats against you or anyone else related to your case

It is not a simple matter to determine if your attorney has been negligent in your case. It must be shown that his or her behavior or actions harmed your case and resulted in a financial loss. As you may imagine, allowing one’s emotions to take control can cause you to lose control of your case. This information is not meant to replace the advice of an attorney.