A lawyer commits legal malpractice when they fail to provide adequate legal services to a client. If the lawyer fails to provide services - usually through an error or failure to act- that meet the minimum standard of care of a licensed attorney, then the lawyer has committed legal malpractice.
Filing a lawsuit against an lawyer for malpractice is different than filing a complaint about the attorney with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers. In a lawsuit a plaintiff may recover money damages, while a complaint with the Board of Bar Overseers is processed through the BBO's system and, if proved, may subject the lawyer to BBO disciplinary action.
In general a legal malpractice suit must prove the following elements:
1. A valid attorney/client relationship.
An attorney often owes a duty to non-clients whom the lawyer knows will rely on his/her services especially when those services were intended to benefit the non-client. A common basis of legal malpractice of this type occurs when the beneficiary to a will can prove an attorney improperly prepared or executed a client's will.
2. A duty on the part of the attorney to the client.
As a fiduciary of a client, a lawyer is required to treat all information relating to a client's representation confidential. The lawyer should vigorously represent the client's interests, and disclose any conflicts of interest that might impair the attorney's ability to represent the client.
3. A breach of that duty.
A lawyer breaches his or her professional duty they fail to provide reasonably competent representation or violate their fiduciary obligations. Proving a breach of duty is often difficult.
4. As a direct result of the attorney's negligence the client has suffered measurable damages.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving the amount of damages. In general, legal malpractice cases are not litigated unless the provable and collectible damages are significant. Legal malpractice cases are usually expensive to investigate and prosecute. They are usually hotly contested and strongly defended suits.
If you believe you have a legal malpractice claim contact a lawyer Here
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