Legal malpractice is a term that refers to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty or negligence by an attorney that causes harm to a client. For an attorney’s negligence to be considered malpractice, an injured party must prove that the attorney’s actions exceed poor strategy. Rather, it must be established that the attorney’s actions resulted in errors that no reasonable attorney would make.
Legal malpractice also requires that the injured party shows an injury that would not be present “but for” the attorney’s negligence. Cause of action will only be granted if it can be proved that the injury cannot have happened any other way.
The “but for” causation can be difficult to establish. For example, if a man is convicted of murder and sentenced to a prison sentence he must first prove that he was innocent of the murder before proving that he would have been exonerated “but for” his attorney’s negligence.
Legal malpractice suits often arise in cases where an attorney misses the deadline for filing a paper writ such as a statute of limitations. Errors like this can have direct bearing on a client’s cause of action.
In the words of Bennett J. Wasserman, the head of the legal malpractice department of New Jersey personal injury firm Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., “Individual and corporate consumers of legal services are increasingly recognizing that, just like when they purchase any other product or service, they are entitled to competent and effective counsel when they hire a lawyer, and that’s one reason why there is a demand for legal assistance in this area.”
There was a time when it was difficult to find lawyers who would even bring suit against other lawyers, let alone testify against them as expert witnesses. However, legal malpractice is now a growing area of litigation.
Wasserman sees legal malpractice as being good for the legal profession at large. “Law students need to be educated on how to prosecute and defend these cases, because it is a growing specialty or sub-specialty of the law,” he said. “The next generation of lawyers can also learn to become better lawyers by learning about the mistakes that other lawyers make.”
Legal malpractice expert witnesses can help those injured by negligence to receive due compensation. Expert witness directory sites can help you find experts to testify in legal malpractice cases.