Clients in California expect a reasonable level of professionalism from their attorney. If a client believes his or her attorney did not meet a reasonable standard then a legal malpractice suit can be initiated. This is provided, according to the American Bar Association, three conditions are present: negligence by the attorney or law firm, damages caused and economics that justify pursuing a case. A legal malpractice suit should also be started in a certain time frame
Is there a statute of limitations for legal malpractice, and if so what is it? In California, according to a column in the Daily Journal, a legal malpractice suit must be started within one year once the attorney no longer represents the client. This is known as the continuous representation rule. In cases where the client and the attorney disagree on when the relationship ends, the determining factor should be based on objective rather than subjective matters. That is to say, a person’s belief on when the client-attorney relationship is over might not be considered reasonable. Two recent court cases, one in 2016 and one in 2017, provide insight on when a client-attorney relationship officially ends.
One of these cases, Flake v. Neumiller & Beardslee, 2017 1943 stated that the client-attorney relationship ended when the attorney filed to end the relationship and not when the request was granted. This, according to a column in the Daily Journal, was seen as a favorable ruling to the attorneys and for defendants in a legal malpractice suit. The Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.6 outlines some of the issues concerning legal malpractice suits in California.