Criminal law entails apprehending, regulating, and punishing convicted law offenders. Defense lawyers (criminal lawyers) work in defense of persons accused of committing crimes before a court of law. The primary intent is to get them acquitted or their sentence reduced. They investigate and analyze cases, then present their findings before a court to get the defendant acquitted, a plea bargain, or a reasonable settlement.
Besides defending the accused, the attorney can represent the defendant for legal malpractice. That’s after the defense lawyer acts in negligence or breaches the fiduciary duty. Sometimes, losing a case in court or failing to get reimbursement happens due to a lawyer’s failure or errors that hurt the client. In such instances, you need a legal malpractice lawyer from kazarianatlaw to get a second opinion on the case.
What is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice deals with a lawyer’s office; the legal malpractice lawyer gives a second legal opinion on the Lawyer’s failure that costs a defendant the case. The other Lawyer’s negligence is highly evident during the evaluation of legal malpractice.
Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney contravenes the critical care accepted in law practice. The types of legal malpractice claims vary according to the practice area. Generally, the plaintiff must prove the following for you to have a reasonable legal malpractice claim.
- The attorney did not play his part as owed to the plaintiff
- There was deviation by the attorney from the pertinent merit of care
- As a result of the attorney’s errors, the plaintiff suffered damages
- The harm suffered by the plaintiff is direct as a result of the attorney’s deviation from fiduciary care.
The Responsibilities of a Criminal Attorney
A criminal attorney is responsible for representing clients in different criminal cases, interpreting the law, and giving advice about legal rights. They also conduct exhaustive research on cases before representing them in court with waterproof evidence. Outstanding lawyers have a passion for criminal law and litigation.
To excel in this role, a lawyer must display a passion for criminal law, a strong understanding of litigation policies, and exceptional relation and speaking skills. Moreover, they must be able to show compassion to clients while sticking to professional practice, regardless of what the defendant is accused of. Here are the primary responsibilities of a criminal lawyer.
- Investigate a case, and analyze findings to determine a likely outcome. And a plan to defend the client in court.
- Help the client comprehend the law by interpreting it for them.
- Focus on a case and purpose to resolve it quickly and favorably.
- Represent a client at all times; arraignments, hearings, and court trials without fail.
- Be ready to present tight evidence to a judge if the case goes to trial.
- Draft legal documents concerning the subject.
- Effectively negotiate plea bargains, punishments, and settlements where applicable.
- Undergo ongoing law training to remain relevant in the justice corridors.
- Be able to conduct themselves ethically at all times.
How Legal Malpractice Happens
A lawyer is guilty of legal malpractice in different ways, as outlined below.
- Failure to meet deadlines
- Inability to file within the required statute of limitations
- Filing a notice claim late to the relevant government units.
- Disobeying court rules, orders, and directions
- Failure to attend court dates or not appearing at all.
- Misrepresenting the client; improper legal arguments, claims, or defenses
- Blatant incompetency and mistakes in judgment
- Filing for appeals late or doing it too late
- Creating invalid contracts or agreements
- Overlooking governmental regulations
- Filing false or invalid claims
Some malpractice cases happen due to carelessness or as a result of fraud and deception. Here are some wrongdoings that lawyers and law firms are at times guilty of;
- Diverting escrow money.
- Theft of funds meant for compensation.
- Conflicts of interest in a case.
- Poor communication.
Possible Actions to Take Against Your Lawyer’s Malpractice
It’s frustrating when your Lawyer isn’t doing his best on your case. Some of the common problems you can face with legal professionals, as outlined above, can discourage you, but before quitting, try some of these actions before filing a malpractice claim.
An ingenuine attorney can fail to communicate with all the communication channels today. This is because they either have nothing to tell you or lack vital skills. If a lawyer doesn’t return your calls or bother to meet up with you, they violate the ethical responsibility to keep you informed. However, you can try these three moves before filing a malpractice claim.
Write a Formal Letter to the Lawyer
If the communication between you and an attorney is dead, write and send a formal letter and ensure they receive it. You can drop the letter at their office and wait for a response. In the letter, only disclose your displeasure for poor or lack of communication, and don’t issue threats as this can aggravate them. Further, they can use your threatening letter as an excuse for lack of communication and worsen the situation.
Get a Mediator
Mediation can help resolve many issues, including poor communication. Before filing a legal malpractice claim, consider getting a mediator by talking to your attorney to help resolve the situation. It can be a family member or a colleague in the same office where you and your Lawyer can resolve any pending issues and build a better relationship.
If nothing works, fire the Lawyer
After writing a formal letter, trying mediation, and nothing works, you may consider firing your Lawyer. Also, if there is no change in behavior after taking the steps above, fire your Lawyer and find another. Firing your Lawyer means he will send you a bill for the work they have done for you. However, if you feel the invoice is unfair, get a second opinion from another legal professional, then decide whether to pay or not. Additionally, the second Lawyer can guide you on suing your former attorney for legal malpractice.
Defendants go to a lawyer for legal assistance or defense against a crime they’re accused of. Therefore, a defendant expects the Lawyer to work overtime to help them regain their freedom or reduce the charges.
However, it can be frustrating for a client when a lawyer underperforms, yet they’ve been paid. In such situations, a client can sue the Lawyer for legal malpractice if they can prove; negligence of the Lawyer in the process, which costs the defendant the case. Winning a malpractice claim is arduous, and you need to engage an attorney with solid experience in the area.