Legal malpractice is when an attorney mishandles a case and the client suffers harm as a result.
- More than an honest mistake. Attorneys are allowed to make mistakes. It’s legal malpractice if a reasonable and careful attorney in their same situation would have avoided the mistake. Basically, the actions of the attorney are measured against what other attorneys would have done.
- Examples. When an attorney commits fraud, breaches the code of ethics, does something criminal, fails to file a lawsuit by the deadline or fails to file a case in the correct court, they may face a legal malpractice lawsuit by the client who was harmed.
- Statute of limitations. Most types of lawsuits have deadlines, and for legal malpractice it’s generally two years. As a client, you have two years from the date of the malpractice to file a lawsuit against your attorney. If for some reason you were not aware of the malpractice at the time it occurred, you should have two years from the time you did become aware of it, unless it’s been more than six years.
- Paying a second lawyer to sue your first lawyer. Legal malpractice attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay anything up front. If your malpractice attorney wins your case and recovers money for you, they get paid out of that. If you lose, you do not owe them a fee.
- Filing a complaint. If you don’t want to sue your attorney for malpractice, or if their behavior doesn’t rise to that level but you still want to report it, you can. Contact the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (iardc.org).
Many attorneys won’t sue other lawyers. We will when there is negligence with provable damages. If you want our help in pursuing a legal malpractice claim please click the contact us link on the left side of the page.