Legal Malpractice Defense and Disciplinary Compliance
Legal malpractice is perhaps a term of art because. Regardless, when an attorney who has undertaken a client’s representation negligently fails to perform the legal services according to the applicable and recognized professional standard of care, the lawyer has committed malpractice and may be liable to the client for money damages.
Legal malpractice is, at its core, the breach of a duty of professional care which a lawyer owes to a client and which results in some provable damage to the client. In Ohio, as in every other state, attorneys are required to practice their profession exercising that same level of skill, diligence and care of all similarly licensed and practicing lawyers in the particular jurisdiction. If the attorney fails to meet this professional standard of conduct and the failure causes some financial harm to the client, then liability for the alleged malpractice will likely attach. Professional opinion testimony is required to establish not only the particular standard to apply in a given situation, but also to prove that the standard was breached by the lawyer.
In the trial setting, losing a case is not – alone – evidence of committed malpractice. The complaining client still has to prove that the attorney failed to practice law and handle the case using that degree and level of skill, diligence and care of all similarly licensed and practicing lawyers in the area. In other words, an average performance by the attorney is not, alone, evidence of malpractice; very good lawyers can (unfortunately) commit malpractice, while average lawyers may continue to practice without ever be exposed to a claim of professional negligence.
Not only do lawyers have to be mindful of the potential malpractice claims of their clients, but they also must remain mindful that the privilege to practice their profession has been conferred through a state license; that their conduct is governed by a Code of Professional Responsibility and that their actions are subject to disciplinary grievance procedures potentially leading to public reprimand, license suspension or license revocation.
Our team of experienced legal malpractice defense attorneys will partner with you and your insurer through every step of a civil malpractice claim and, as may become necessary, we will be ready to capably serve your needs and advocate your defense in representation before Disciplinary Counsel and, should it ever come to pass, the state’s Supreme Court.