Bringing Up The Law Against Them!

Published December 22, 2014

Bringing Up The Law Against Them

While it’s usual to see lawyers involved when two parties are in a legal dispute, what happens if someone wishes to sue a lawyer? And what can they be sued for? While frustrating, a client cannot simply sue their lawyer for not getting the results that the client expected, but they can be sued for other reasons.

Negligence would be the first thing to spring to mind when it comes to suing your lawyer, in order to sue a lawyer for negligence, you first must prove that your lawyer did not use a reasonable degree of care. For example, you may feel that you were given advice or information that was incorrect, you may feel that they didn’t take action where maybe a more prudent lawyer would have. Lawyers can also be sued for fraud. If a lawyer makes a case for his client that they know to be untrue, or simply withhold facts from the court, then they are breaching their fiduciary duty.

The same can also be true for paralegals, by way of legal malpractice. Legal malpractice is effectively based on negligence and with the number of paralegals performing services without attorney supervisions, such cases could become commonplace.

When working as a paralegal it is important that all instructions are followed exactly, and it could even be worth looking into a professional liability policy if you’re not working under the direct supervision of a lawyer. All client’s screenings should be followed exactly, with potential problematic clients highlighted so lawsuit are not raised at a later date. You should also ensure that all documentation is proofread and checked for any grammar mistakes, this ensures that whoever is receiving the documentation is aware that the firm is up to the job as acting as their legal representative.

It can be tricky when speaking to potential clients over the phone as to what is classed as legal advice and what is classed as information. When potential clients ask for information over the phone, ensure that you are only giving factual statements, i.e. a person must live in a state for 90 days in order to file for divorce. If you were to start taking information from that client and offering answers based on what they have told you, you would then be giving legal advice. Any errors given within this legal advice could be held against you, and you could be sued for any misadvice given.  If you do not ask for any facts and only relay the law, chances are you are only giving information. Away liaise with someone more senior if you’re not sure of the information you are giving, it can save for a lot of disruption in the future.

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