Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney causes harm or loss to a client. This is caused by the lawyer’s negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of contract. Lawyers are expected to act on behalf of their clients according to a certain standard of care. If a lawyer acts negligently and causes their client harm, they can be held liable. Here are the top 5 legal malpractice claims and why they happen: 

Lack of Knowledge of the Law

An attorney’s insufficient legal knowledge is one of the most common reasons for legal malpractice claims. Attorneys should be knowledgeable about a case. Furthermore, they should know how to research additional information, if required. A lack of knowledge of the law is more common for attorneys who practice in multiple unrelated areas of the law. This is because it is very difficult for any attorney to have sufficient detailed knowledge of each field. 

Failure to Meet Deadlines

Attorneys need to meet deadlines. This includes filing paperwork in court. Missing deadlines can have serious consequences for their client’s legal rights and options. ​The failure to meet deadlines frequently occurs in law firms where multiple attorneys are working on a single case. This is either the result of the firm having a high workload or having a high turnover of legal staff. Unfortunately, without a point person, it's easier to miss important deadlines. ​

Planning Errors

Planning errors refers to an attorney failing to adequately plan for every reasonably likely outcome. These errors lead to an attorney or law firm not having a competent strategy for a client’s case. This includes not preparing or filing effective motions on the client’s behalf. Planning errors can occur for attorneys who still rely on paper documentation, which makes it difficult to search through documents and retrieve critical information. 

Inadequate Investigation and Discovery

Attorneys are expected to perform a thorough investigation in a case. This includes requesting all relevant information from the other side during discovery. A legal malpractice claim may arise if an attorney or law firm advises a client to accept a settlement without having conducted an investigation. Lawyers are more likely to perform inadequate investigations into their client’s cases when they have an excessive caseload. 

Lack of Proper Scheduling

Lack of proper scheduling systems leads attorneys to miss filing deadlines or court dates. For example, this can cause an attorney to miss the statute of limitations on a client’s case. This could cost the client their legal rights. Lack of proper scheduling may arise from clerical errors or from not having appropriate tools or software for documenting important dates and receiving reminders when those dates approach. 

Contact A Legal Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey

Do you have a legal malpractice claim? A legal malpractice lawyer can provide guidance on how to proceed. The Rochelle Park legal malpractice attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm can help you with your claim. We represent victims of negligent attorneys and law firms throughout New Jersey, including Mahwah, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Newark. Call us today at (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.