New York and New Jersey Legal Malpractice Lawyers
Legal malpractice is the term for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty (a legal relationship between parties), or breach of contract by an attorney that causes harm to his or her client. In order to rise to an actionable level of negligence, the injured party must show that the attorney’s acts were not merely the result of poor strategy, but that they were the result of errors that no reasonable attorney would make.
When an attorney breaches a fiduciary duty to his or her client, an attorney acts in their own interest instead of their client’s, to the detriment of their client. A claim for legal malpractice may also arise when an attorney breaches the contract they sign with their client, for example.
It is difficult to win a legal malpractice lawsuit. A client will need to establish several factors in order to prevail. The most common type of legal malpractice occurs because of negligence, the breach of a fiduciary duty, or a breach of contract.
The failure to file paperwork by a deadline is a form of negligence. To establish legal malpractice under negligence, it is necessary to demonstrate the following:
- 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;
- The harm caused a financial loss.
To win a legal malpractice claim, it is also necessary to show that if the lawyer had been competent the client would have prevailed in the underlying case and the client would have been able to collect the damage award from the defendant. This element, known as causation, is often the most difficult to prove in a legal malpractice lawsuit.