It is natural to have a sinking feeling that your attorney is not representing you to the best of his or her abilities. Even as someone who may not know much about the law, observing the proceedings and being skeptical of the lawyers’ diligence and effort is sometimes unavoidable. We suggest you contact a legal malpractice lawyer in Cincinnati with any questions.
Addressing The Malpractice Issue Early
If it is possible to do so, it is recommended to address this issue while your case is still in progress. Proving legal malpractice after the case concludes can be more difficult. And if you fire your attorney, the fired attorney may be unresponsive in delivering needed case files.
If you have concerns, talk with your attorney. Contact your lawyer and express your concerns. Do not threaten a malpractice suit. Merely try to ascertain what, precisely, is the work they have been doing.
A lack of communication is often at the heart of any potential legal malpractice suit. If, after making many phone calls and sending many emails, your attorney does not respond, then this is a red flag. The attorney is bound to an ethical responsibility of communication, and willfully violating that responsibility will put them into trouble with the state bar.
Writing a strongly-worded letter, in the event of such non communication, is a prudent place to begin. Again, do not threaten legal action yet. The attorney may have a legitimate reason for silence — a medical issue, or a death in the family. If the attorney has merely been overworked, then he or she may begin to pay more attention to your case.
Keep track of your correspondence. Having accurate records of the dates of attempted contact, the means and methods of attempted contact, and the eventual response may help you later on.
If you feel that your attorney is acting in an incompetent or a dishonest manner, the next step may be to file a complaint. This complaint is most often with your state’s bar association. In some states, you would complain to the state supreme court. Each of these institutions has a set and formalized process for filing a complaint for dishonesty or incompetence.
A few of the reasons most often cited in such complaints:
- The attorney broke the law, and engaged in criminal activity.
- The attorney lied to you (the client), or lied to a judge.
- The attorney did not appear at a scheduled court hearing as promised.
- The attorney misused the client’s money.
It is also in your best interest to request your case file. Your case file should contain any filings related to your case, as well as any communication between you and the attorney. The attorney’s firm should let you either read the case file in person at the office — making copies when necessary — or let you have your own full copy of the file, for which they would copy everything for you. Either way, seeing the case file will give you a solid sense for the actual work the attorney has done on your behalf. It will also give you potential evidence for demonstrating that the work has been improperly handled.
Winning A Legal Malpractice Case
To win a legal malpractice case, you must prove that, not only was your attorney negligent or incompetent, but that without that negligence, you would have been victorious in your case. You also should sue quickly after your case is resolved, as an attorney defending himself (or herself) in such a case will often point to the issue of the claimant waiting too long.