Two words that no attorney wants to hear in connection with their name: dishonesty and incompetence. The rules of legal ethics in most states require attorneys to be honest and to do their job with a certain level of competence. By lying to, or misleading a client, or even performing their duties at a level below that of a competent attorney, lawyers are setting themselves up for a day in court – with themselves as the defendant.
The first thing an angry client may do is to file a complaint. Every state has some sort of agency that is responsible for disciplining attorneys that violate the rules of legal ethics. In many states, this is the bar association, and in others it could be the state supreme court.
The first thing every attorney should do is to purchase some type of malpractice coverage, or lawyer professional liability insurance policy to protect him or her, especially from frivolous lawsuits.
Behavior that could lead to a lawsuit
An example of the types of behavior that attorneys may exhibit that could lead to a malpractice claim includes:
- Misusing a client’s money
- Failing to show up at a court hearing
- Lying to a client or a judge, or
- Participating in a criminal endeavor
By engaging in any of these sorts of activities, or behaving in a way that was dishonest or incompetent, an attorney is likely to become named in a lawsuit. Performing inadequate legal work, which in simpler terms means he or she is not doing a good job on a case, leads to frustration and anger that could be prevented by performing the duties as outlined by any binding contract.
One way that clients often find out that their attorney is not doing good work on their case is by seeing that the attorney has actually stopped working on their case. Most clients will likely give their lawyer the benefit of the doubt and to try to get in touch with them and voice their concerns. If they find that their attorney has not been working diligently on the case, they may decide to simply find a new attorney.
They still may decide to sue their former attorney and also ask for money damages due to financial hardship because, for example, the former attorney withheld their case file even after a request was made for it. An attorney that is accused of dishonesty or incompetence can only benefit from having adequate lawyer professional liability insurance. Speak to an agent today.