Legal Malpractice & Barratry

An attorney-client relationship is fiduciary in nature and requires a high degree of trust and integrity. It is unfortunate that sometimes attorneys make mistakes that can cost their clients money. We at West & West believe that attorneys should be held accountable. Doing so promotes diligence and excellence within the legal community.

What is Legal Malpractice?

Simply getting a bad outcome in a legal matter is not legal malpractice. Risks are always factors in any legal matter. There is always the possibility of receiving a negative outcome in a lawsuit. However, there are situations in which an attorney breaches his duty of care.

Legal malpractice may be brought under theories of (1) attorney negligence; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; or (3) breach of contract.

Attorney Negligence most often requires examination of the underlying matter. It is the action or inaction of an attorney that negatively affects the outcome of a case for a client. These cases are often hard to prove, because it must be shown that absent the mistake, the underlying case would have been successfully concluded. It is not simply determining that the attorney was negligent, but whether that negligence was the proximate cause of the loss and damages.

Attorney Breach of Fiduciary Duty may result from varying circumstances including conflicts of interest, failure to heed the client’s direction or failure to keep the client fully informed.

Attorney Breach of Contract claims generally are supported by disputes over excessive legal fees and costs. Both negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims can support the breach of contract.

Did your attorney fail to present crucial evidence in your lawsuit? Did he or she keep you adequately informed? Or do you believe you have been billed for work that was not done? These are merely a few of the questions you may ask yourself if you think you have a legal malpractice case. Call us at West & West to let us help you right the wrong.

What is Barratry?

Barratry is also known as “case running” or “ambulance chasing”. In the State of Texas, barratry is unethical and illegal. Attorneys who initiate contact with prospective clients either by phone or in person are breaking the law. On occasion unethical law firms use “case runners” who actively chase those who have been wrongfully injured. They may say they are from a doctor’s office or auto repair shop. They may send limos or flowers to impress you. Some unethical attorneys expertly use these methods to subtly coerce you to sign up with their law firm. These tactics hinder your decision making process in your search to find the attorney best suited to your needs.

If an attorney or his agent has recruited or encouraged you to sign up with his or her firm without you contacting them first, or you realized that you have been led to a law firm improperly, call West & West today. You will most likely be able to void your contract and leave the unethical law firm that is only looking out for their own best interests. We will confidentially discuss your legal options as we keep your best interests in mind.