Monday, February 11, 2008

Suing An Attorney for Legal Malpractice

I'm trying to sue my attorney for work that I consider to be incompetent.

I have learned, however, that the cards are stacked against me. To sue an attorney for any kind of "bad work" apparently falls into the category of "legal malpractice."

At first, I thought it was a telling indictment of attorneys that any bad work should be considered "malpractice." But then I learned that the attorneys set up this whole thing. They have caused the government (which is also composed of attorneys) to set up the rules whereby there are five things that must occur before you can be successful in a "legal malpractice" suit against an attorney. It is almost impossible to assemble all of those ingredients. Do you think they knew that when they wrote the rules?

For example, I had what I believe is incompetent representation when my attorneys were defending me in a patent infringement lawsuit. Although I did not lose the case totally, neither did I win it (and I clearly should have). Along the way, my attorneys had several errors and omissions that led to the result. However, the result occurred at a legal level called Summary Judgment. Although the way the rules of "legal malpractice" are written to protect the attorneys, I am told that I must prove that they would have lost my case if it went to the final (trial) level and...further, that the loss was the result of their incompetence. So I cannot sue them for the bad work that they have done to date because the rules say that they may have still achieved a "win" in this case. No consideration is given to the fact that I spent roughly $.5 million in legal fees already and that I cannot afford the extra $250,000 they told me it would take to go to trial.

It seems to me that any person or company that offers a service (and charges rates in the range of $300 per hour) should be expected to deliver that service at a competent level and, if not, should not expect to be paid the full amount in the case of such incompetence.

I'll be interested to hear advice and/or experiences from anyone who has played on this field.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain!