Litigation Legal Malpractice
Legal Malpractice Lawyers Serving Businesses and Individuals
At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our attorneys take great pride in representing every client with integrity and professionalism. Unfortunately, in some instances, other lawyers fall short in fulfilling their duties to their clients. In certain instances, these actions rise to the level of malpractice.
While no attorney takes pleasure in suing another member of the profession, we understand how legal malpractice can lead to unjust harm, often costing trusting clients significant sums of money or jeopardizing their legal rights. This is why we represent clients in legal malpractice cases—to achieve justice for our clients and help uphold the standards of the legal profession.
If you believe that you or your company suffered substantial losses due to the misconduct of an attorney, please do not hesitate to discuss your rights with the legal malpractice team at Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, today. Call us at (310) 576-1200 or use our online contact form to schedule a free case review.
Successfully Handling Multimillion-Dollar Legal Malpractice Claims
Our attorneys represent people and businesses that suffered serious damages because of the negligence of their lawyers. Professional negligence can come in many forms and cause a wide range of damages. In some cases, negligence can lead to millions of dollars in losses for a business or individual client. With so much on the line, you need a law firm in your corner that regularly proves high-value legal malpractice claims.
At Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we obtain more settlements and verdicts worth $1 million or more for our clients than any other injury firm in California. Our efforts and results for legal malpractice victims are no different, and include:
- $45.6 million verdict – A law firm with a conflicting interest committed legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud in a real estate transaction while representing a company. This was the largest legal malpractice verdict in California.
- $9.6 million settlement – Attorneys negligently prepared for the trial of a brain injury and special education lawsuit against a government agency.
- $8 million settlement – A law firm failed to properly prepare transactional documents while representing a government entity, and our law firm then represented the city in question.
- $3 million settlement – A law firm engaged in transactional legal malpractice while handling the sale of our client’s business.
- $3 million settlement – A law firm handling a wrongful termination action violated the statute of limitations.
- $2.2 million settlement – A law firm provided negligent advice to a doctor facing legal claims of fraud by shareholders of a corporation.
Many additional legal malpractice claims end in confidential settlements. The claims involve many different areas of law and malpractice issues, including:
- The negligent handling of a probate and estate issue
- Failing to file a patent application for improvements to laser eye surgery in a timely manner
- Negligent representation in litigation involving a valuable piece of art
Because they can involve varying legal matters and lawyers often refuse to accept liability, legal malpractice cases can prove highly complex.
For example, in the above-mentioned case involving the valuable artwork, the attorney committed malpractice when drafting the settlement agreement, a key part of any legal case, resulting in significant losses to the client. The law firm then tried to cast blame on the former clients and unsuccessfully filed a lawsuit against the clients for unpaid legal fees. When it came to the malpractice claim, the firm tried to avoid any liability based on the statute of limitations. However, our attorneys fought against wrongdoing and obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of the former clients.
At Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we want all of our peers in the legal field to thrive and provide the assistance we pledged to provide for clients. The reality is that some attorneys engage in acts or omissions that can cost clients so much. When this happens, we are there for the injured clients and ready to help them recover for the full amount of their losses. Consult with a member of our team right away if you have a substantial legal malpractice claim.
Why You Can Trust Our Firm
As the victim of legal malpractice, it only makes sense that you may feel wary of other attorneys. However, our lawyers dedicate ourselves to providing only the highest quality of representation in each case we accept, no matter what the matter entails. We always do everything in our power to ensure that our clients receive the full amount they deserve. Our law firm is able to regularly achieve such success for our clients because of our experience, resources, and reputation.
Experience in and out of the courtroom. Based on our experience, our attorneys are confident in our abilities to get justice for our clients, whether at the negotiating table or in the courtroom. When looking at our case results, you can see we obtain a combination of settlements and verdicts. Our lawyers are skilled negotiators who know how to present persuasive cases in settlement conferences, often resulting in offers that fairly compensate our clients.
However, not all defendants and insurance companies are willing to make a fair offer or even admit liability. In such situations, we will never push our clients to accept anything less than they deserve. Instead, we do not hesitate to take a matter to trial for a jury to decide. We are also skilled litigators who understand how to present complex evidence to juries, and we often obtain multimillion-dollar jury verdicts.
You need an attorney with experience handling legal malpractice cases. While these claims involve the legal profession, the number of attorneys who do not fully understand how to identify and prove legal malpractice may surprise you. The rules of ethics can confuse even experienced lawyers. Our team, however, has experience proving a law firm’s liability for a client’s losses in many different situations, and we know what evidence is necessary to prove these cases. We come into settlement conferences and court fully prepared to prove our client’s claims to help them recover from the malpractice of other attorneys.
Resources to investigate claims. Legal malpractice claims may require an extensive investigation into the lawyer’s actions with regard to the botched matter. Our high-value successes result in substantial resources for future clients, including an in-house investigation team that understands how to gather evidence in legal malpractice claims. Evidence can vary depending on the nature of the malpractice, but can include:
- Attorney-client agreements
- Attorney case records
- Court records
- Communications between an attorney and client
- Opinions and testimony of legal experts
Our team can identify what each case requires, and we have the investigative resources and access to experts needed to meet our clients’ needs.
Our reputation for excellence. Legal malpractice cases are different from other injury cases because the defendant will be another law firm. Law firms and their insurers know about the laws that govern these claims, and often have the skills to fight against liability. However, our reputation for success precedes us, and other lawyers know we mean business the moment we walk into a settlement conference or courtroom. They know we fully understand the law and thoroughly investigate and prepare in every case. Our reputation allows us to face opposing counsel from the strongest possible vantage point and often leverage the outcome to our client’s favor.
Legal Malpractice Can Cause Extensive Losses
When you hire a lawyer, you should expect the lawyer to best represent your interests and protect your rights. In too many situations, however, a lawyer makes a serious error or intentionally engages in misconduct that severely harms a client instead of helping. This can happen in almost any area of law, including matters involving:
- Divorce and family law
- Severe personal injury and wrongful death
- Corporate law
- Real estate law
- Breach of contract
- Intellectual property law
- Probate, trusts, and estates
Malpractice can occur in the context of litigation or in transactional work. The textbook example of litigation malpractice is failing to file a claim before the statute of limitation expires. Examples of transactional malpractice include producing defective documents or failing to properly advise clients.
Like other professionals, if lawyers were afraid of legal action for any degree of human error, we could not do our jobs and represent clients properly. However, certain acts and omissions are serious enough that they rise to the level of professional malpractice. The following are some of the most common forms of legal malpractice:
- Failing to properly know or apply the law
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Errors in planning or preparation
- Inadequate discovery or investigation
- Failure to file documents
- Failure to properly meet calendar deadlines
- Failure to know deadlines
- Procrastination of a case
- Failure to obtain a client’s consent before taking certain actions
- Having a conflict of interest
- Engaging in fraud
- Failing to follow instructions
- Errors in records searches
- Improper withdrawal from a case
- Libel or slander against a client
- Causing civil rights violations
- Causing adverse tax consequences for clients
- Serious mathematical errors
- Losing files or documents
- Inadequate communication with clients or adverse parties
As you can see, legal malpractice may occur due to unintentional but serious errors, careless and avoidable mistakes, or intentional acts of fraud or self-serving breaches of fiduciary duty.
No matter how minor or severe the act seems, legal malpractice has the potential to result in millions of dollars in losses. For instance, imagine a child suffers permanent brain damage due to a driver’s negligence, and his parents hire an attorney to represent them in a personal injury claim. The attorney miscalculates the statute of limitations and files the lawsuit late. The court grants the defendant’s motion to dismiss based on the expired statute of limitations, and the disabled child and his parents lost the opportunity to seek compensation for a lifetime’s worth of medical care, lost potential earnings, pain and suffering, and more. A simple miscalculation led a family to face astronomical and ongoing losses without any of the compensation they deserved under the law.
In the above case, those clients should not wait before they contact Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP. We understand legal malpractice standards, as well as the underlying legal matter in which the malpractice occurred. We fight for clients who suffered serious financial harm at the hands of negligent and/or malicious attorneys.
Proving Complex Legal Malpractice Claims
Simply losing your case or arriving at what you consider an unjust result is not malpractice. Instead, specific legal standards identify malpractice. To prove a legal malpractice claim, an attorney must prove the following overarching issues:
- A valid attorney-client relationship
- Negligent acts or representation by the lawyer
- Losses stemming from the negligent act of representation
Proving the first element can involve obtaining a representation agreement signed by both the client and attorney. However, an agreement does not always need to exist for an attorney-client relationship to form. In some situations, an attorney’s actions or reactions can imply a relationship. If a lawyer’s representations gave the client the reasonable belief that an attorney-client relationship existed, that can obligate a lawyer to owe the client the required duty of care. Our attorneys carefully examine the actions of both lawyers and clients to determine whether a relationship existed.
The second element involves the complex matter of proving that a lawyer’s actions constituted negligence. Legal negligence involves:
- That the lawyer breached the standard of care
- That this breach of duty caused harm to the client
- That the client accrued damages because of the malpractice
As mentioned, not every mistake constitutes negligence under the law. Instead, a lawyer must breach the standard of care required in the legal profession. Simply put, this standard is to exercise the skill, care, and diligence that other similarly trained attorneys in the community would exercise in similar circumstances.
If a lawyer chooses a legal approach or strategy in good faith, and other attorneys at that time and in that situation would find that strategy reasonable, it does not constitute legal malpractice if the strategy fails to succeed for the client. On the other hand, if a lawyer decides to take a wildly unorthodox approach in a case that another reasonably prudent lawyer would never take, the attorney may incur liability for malpractice if the attorney loses the client’s case.
This is only one of many examples of how a lawyer may breach the duty of care. Breach of duty may also occur due to violations of Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers in California, violation of federal or state criminal law, and similar wrongful acts.
After establishing evidence of a breach of duty, the next step is to demonstrate that the breach led to the losses of the client. We often show that if the attorney had acted in the right manner, the client would likely have prevailed in a case or could have avoided a costly mishap. We also know how to calculate the full amount of damages appropriate in every legal malpractice case to ensure our clients receive the maximum compensation they deserve.
Contact Our Los Angeles Legal Malpractice Lawyers for More Information
At Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our lawyers are skilled at standing up to other lawyers for the rights of injured clients. When you have a lot on the line, we are the firm you can trust. Please contact us online or call (310) 576-1200 to discuss your legal malpractice case. Our Los Angeles personal injury law firm represents clients throughout Southern California and the entire state. We also consult with attorneys and clients across the United States. Call today to learn how we may help you.