Commitment to Clients’ Rights
Legal malpractice laws are designed to ensure that attorneys fulfill their duties and obligations to clients. The strict enforcement of these laws is necessary to foster a healthy and responsible legal profession.
Make no mistake, legal malpractice is a very serious allegation that should not be made lightly. It implies a breakdown in the trust, loyalty and shared purpose that is the basis of any attorney-client relationship. But at the same time, it stands for a vitally important principle that needs to be upheld – accountability.
Marc Geffen Law has dedicated significant time and energy to defining and protecting clients’ rights. Our extensive participation in state and local bar associations has dealt directly with promoting acceptable legal practices as well as educating lawyers and law firms regarding their responsibilities.
If you have entered into an attorney-client relationship and feel that your best interests have been neglected or poorly represented, we encourage you to contact us for a clear and honest assessment of your options.
Understanding Your Rights: Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to exercise the required degree of skill and care that would ordinarily be used by an attorney handling a similar case in similar circumstances.
Determining whether a particular legal malpractice claim has merit requires a detailed analysis of the facts and law. Just because a less-than-desirable result was attained doesn’t automatically mean that legal malpractice has transpired. Unexpected or disappointing results may occur even when an attorney has acted competently.
A successful legal malpractice claim will prove the following
four key elements:
Attorney-Client Relationship: The existence of an understood legal relationship between the parties must be positively established. In order to prove such a relationship, it is necessary to demonstrate the presence of some form of binding contract, whether express or implied, formal or informal.
Breach of Duty: By law, attorneys owe their clients duties of competence, loyalty and confidentiality. The violation of any one of these can be the basis for a legal malpractice claim. Establishing breach of duty requires expert testimony by an attorney who is qualified to say whether the conduct of the attorney-in-question fell below minimum standards.
Causation:A probable connection must be shown between the attorney’s breach of duty and the specific harm sustained by the client. This is accomplished by effectively proving that "but for" the attorney’s conduct, the harm would not have occurred.
Damages: The client carries the burden of proving the nature and extent of the harm he or she has suffered. Doing so requires that evidence of lost profits, missed opportunities, emotional distress or other forms of injury be clearly presented.
Legal malpractice laws are designed to protect your rights as a client. If you believe you have the basis for a legal malpractice claim, Marc Geffen Law is available to help you evaluate the situation, answer your questions, and if necessary, plan a suitable course of action.