Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to perform according to the proscribed standards and codes of ethical and professional conduct. Not getting the expected outcome in a case is not enough to warrant a malpractice claim: attorneys must have been negligent, in breach of a contract, or otherwise in violation of the American Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct. In order to win a legal malpractice case against an attorney, it must be shown that a typical lawyer would have prevailed in your case.
For legal malpractice claims based on negligence, you need to prove the following four elements:
- The lawyer owed a duty to provide competent and skillful representation,
- The lawyer breached the duty by acting carelessly or by making a mistake,
- The lawyer’s breach caused an injury or harm, and
- The harm caused a financial loss.
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.