Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney’s failure to act in a way that is consistent with the legal profession’s standard of care causes harm to a client. In order to prevail in a legal malpractice case, a person must prove the following elements:
The existence of an attorney-client relationship
The first thing an individual must prove in a legal malpractice case is the existence of an attorney-client relationship. This is normally accomplished by the submission of a retainer agreement or contract to the court.
The attorney breached his or her duty to provide competent and skillful representation to the client
Next, a client in a legal malpractice case must prove that the attorney breached his or her duty to provide competent and skillful representation. When representing a client, an attorney is expected to exercise the same level of skill, care, and diligence that is exercised by other attorneys under similar circumstances and conditions. Although an attorney can never ensure a particular result in a case, all attorneys are required to provide a certain level of service and communication to their clients.
The attorney’s breach caused some type of harm to the client
In addition to proving that an attorney breached his or her duty of care, a person who files a legal malpractice case in New Jersey must show that the attorney’s negligent or incompetent behavior affected the outcome of the underlying matter. In other words, if the result would have been the same regardless of the attorney’s breach of duty, the legal malpractice case will not be successful.
Additional Options for Addressing Legal Malpractice
Legal malpractice can be difficult to prove. However, a legal malpractice lawsuit isn’t the only form of recourse available to unhappy clients. For example, even if a client can’t prove that his or her attorney committed legal malpractice, the client can report information regarding ethics violations, fee disputes, fraud, incompetent representation, and other matters to the New Jersey State Bar Association. In such cases, the New Jersey State Bar Association may suspend the attorney’s license, discipline the attorney, disbar the attorney, or require the attorney to refund legal fees to the client.
Contact Our Hackensack Legal Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve suffered harm due to the actions of your lawyer, you may be entitled to file a legal malpractice claim. However, succeeding in a legal malpractice lawsuit requires the assistance of an experienced Hackensack legal malpractice attorney. At Rosenblatt Law, we will conduct a thorough investigation of your situation and determine whether your attorney’s actions or inactions constitute legal malpractice. We will then advise you on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances and work diligently to ensure that you are compensated for your attorney’s poor representation. If you believe you have been harmed by your attorney, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.