What can engender a legal malpractice suit? Sometimes simply a missed deadline, highlighting the importance of a solid calendaring system as well a means to easily keep track of local rules; this is where a product such as SmartRules.com makes perfect sense. From financial consequences to a ruined professional reputation, legal malpractice suits always have serious ramifications.
Practice management advisor Dan Pinnington writes the following in his piece, 10 Ways to Avoid a Malpractice Claim:
In most areas of law practice, problems with lawyer-client communications are the number one cause of malpractice claims, followed closely by basic deadline and time management issues. From a claims prevention point of view, you get more for your risk management efforts by focusing on improving client communications and getting things done on time.
Among the tips Pinnington suggests are to get everything in writing, and as he puts it: “Document, Document Document.”
The term “legal malpractice” is an umbrella term that may include all or one of the following: negligence, breach of contract by an attorney, or breach of fiduciary duty. A key nuance is whether these actions, most especially with regard to breach of contract, caused harm to the client. Additionally, there is a burden of proving that said actions were in fact negligent and were it “but for” said actions, the outcome would have been in the client’s favor. That being said, while losing a case certainly isn’t immediate grounds for negligence, a lost case due to a carelessly missed deadline for filing a document with the court may very well open the door to a legal malpractice suit. Here again, the importance of having an online source that simplifies the complicated arena of local rules cannot be underestimated. Overall, legal malpractice cases are often difficult to prove and costly to fund; the grieved party needs to establish that his or her attorney made a mistake or acted outside of the boundaries of what is reasonable.
For more information about local rules and deadlines in your jurisdiction, visit www.smartrules.com.