Legal Malpractice and Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Holding Texas Attorneys Accountable to Their Clients
Some lawyers refuse to handle cases that may involve suing another lawyer. But we do. We genuinely value the reputation of our profession and insist on lawyer accountability just like any other professional. Lawyers do not deserve special treatment to avoid liability for their misconduct, negligence, misrepresentations or dishonesty. If you have lost a case, been deprived of your day in court, your attorney was unprepared, or your attorney was dishonest, please contact The Law Office of Mark A. Ticer in Dallas, Texas.
Attorneys Owe the Highest Duties to their Clients
There is no right to be a lawyer – it is privilege. Lawyers owe the highest obligations to their clients – duties of honesty, candor, loyalty, to make full disclosures, to maintain client confidences and communications, to zealously represent their clients, to only take on representation of a matter to which they are competent to handle, to carry out their representation of a client within the standard of care, and to keep a client reasonably informed. The failure to carry out any one or more of these duties may be legal malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty. An honest or simple mistake by a lawyer may not be legal malpractice, but contacting an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can evaluate what happened and why, or when damages or injury results is reasonable and a smart thing to do.
Examples of Legal Malpractice and Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty takes on many forms, including:
- Failure to file a lawsuit within the legal statute of limitations;
- Failure to prepare a class for litigation including not timely designating experts, identifying witnesses, filing pleadings, taking depositions, or appearing for a hearing or trial;
- Falsely or inaccurately telling a client about the status of a matter;
- Disclosing client confidences or communications without client permission;
- Overbilling a client on a matter;
- Engaging in a conflict of interest or taking advantage of a client in furtherance of the lawyer’s own interest;
- Settling a client’s claim or lawsuit without client authorization; and
- Taking client funds or settlements for the lawyer’s own personal use.
This is by no means a complete or exhaustive list. Every situation is fact specific and must be evaluated carefully. A negative outcome on a legal matter is not automatically legal malpractice or a breach of fiduciary duty.
Negligence or Misuse of Your Trust Can Be Legal Malpractice
When you hire an attorney, you have a right to expect more than the filing of a lawsuit or writing a letter. You deserve an attorney who justifies your trust by:
- Giving full attention to important details and deadlines of your case
- Keeping you reasonably informed of all important actions, changes and decisions that may impact the outcome of your case, through a commitment of full disclosure
- Promptly advising and reporting to you about any settlement offer or other significant development requiring a decision on your part
- Being fully prepared to deal with developments in your case and representing your best interests
- Zealously prosecuting your interests
You Do Not Have to Accept Poor Representation
Legal malpractice cases are difficult, but we welcome that challenge. When you have been victimized by legal malpractice, a breach of trust, or a breach of fiduciary duty, we will seek complete disclosure from your previous lawyer of all information related to your representation, including examining documents, communications, court proceedings, and records. We will investigate your case to uncover any fact — including why a lawyer failed to perform alcohol or other substance abuse, divorce, financial distress or personal issues by the lawyer — that may have contributed to any failure to represent you effectively and competently.
When you need a lawyer who will hold another lawyer accountable, please contact The Law Office of Mark A. Ticer.