How to Detect Legal Malpractice
Published on:February 22, 2018


Legal malpractice can occur in any situation and, in many cases, the client might not realize they were a victim until there is considerable damage done. Each state has its own laws regarding legal malpractice, but the general consensus is that legal malpractice occurs because of an attorney’s intentional or unintentional negligence that causes damage to the client. It is not easy to prove legal malpractice, but it is important to know how to detect it to protect yourself.

Defining Legal Malpractice

There are four parts to legal malpractice that must all exist for a client to have a case. Those parts are:

  • A client-attorney relationship must be in place.
  • The attorney was negligent, either purposely or not purposely, in representing you. This can be shown by something that was done by the attorney, or something that was not done.
  • The attorney’s actions did contribute to some sort of damage to the client.
  • There was damage or loss on the part of the client.

To have a successful legal malpractice case, all four of these parts must be proven in court. The most important part is to prove there was damage or losses due to the malpractice. It is not enough to prove there was negligence. The victim must prove that they were harmed in some way for their to be malpractice.

Detecting Legal Malpractice

There is a significant difference between legal malpractice and a client not getting the results they wanted. If your attorney loses an important signed agreement, then that could be considered malpractice. But if your attorney refuses to file a document because it does not pertain to your case, then that is not negligence or malpractice.

The best way to detect malpractice is to seek a second legal opinion if you feel that something is not right about your current representation. While no one should consider information gathered from an Internet search to be credible legal advice, if there is a consensus among various Internet sources showing issues with your case, then it is worth a second opinion.

A strong clue that there is legal malpractice is when the client is getting results that are opposite from what their attorney told them to expect. A consistent string of miscalculations by an attorney could be legal malpractice and it is something that should be checked out.

Be Careful With Too Many Opinions

Overzealous clients who seek several opinions from other attorneys could find themselves being accused of fraud. If you feel that your attorney is not representing you in a proper way, then choose one experienced attorney to get a second opinion. Clients will want to avoid going to multiple attorneys for second opinions about the actions of one attorney in one case.

When it comes to detecting legal malpractice, the client is on their own. If it feels like your attorney is giving you improper advice or is not properly executing various parts of your case, then you should seek out a second opinion for legal malpractice. If it can be proven that your financial well-being was negatively affected by your attorney’s actions, then you could be in line for compensation due to legal malpractice.