Monday, December 28, 2009

Regrets The Morning After Settlement: Connecticut Legal Malpractice

The most common call we receive for a Connecticut legal malpractice case is not dissatisfaction with the result after a trial. Rather, having agreed to a settlement the client now has second thoughts and wishes they had never listened to their lawyer’s recommendation. This often results in the client wanting to bring a legal malpractice action against their attorney.

In such cases, the clients will assert that they could have received a more favorable result, despite the fact that they knowingly and willingly agreed to end the case. In Connecticut, like the majority of states, a client is permitted to sue their lawyer under the theory that their attorney negligently negotiated an agreement despite the fact that the client consented to settlement.

Procedurally, lawyers owe their clients a duty to communicate, a duty not to exceed the client’s given authority, a duty to be diligent, a duty to reveal conflicts of interest, and a duty not to compromise a client’s interests in an effort to cover up the lawyer’s error. Substantively, during settlement and negotiation, lawyers are required to provide their clients with appropriate and accurate information so that they may make an informed decision. This includes a thorough explanation of the law and how it should affect the client’s decision so that the client is able to make an informed decision. Connecticut lawyers that fail to appropriately exercise these procedural and substantive duties may be liable for Connecticut legal malpractice and we can help.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Inadequate Performance of Legal Research May Result in Connecticut Legal Malpractice

Connecticut lawyers have an ethical obligation, to perform sufficient research to effectively advocate on behalf of their clients. In fulfilling this duty of competent research, lawyers are expected to exercise ordinary care under the circumstances. The most important consideration is that the attorney has conducted sufficient research to make an informed decision on behalf of their client.

In this age of increasingly available information, lawyers may find themselves the subject of legal malpractice actions as a result of inadequate legal research. Research is an essential part of any type of law practice and every lawyer should possess the fundamental skills of locating relevant legal authority and evaluating it.

Given the low cost of today’s digital publishing databases (sometimes even free i.e., combined with the ease of distribution over the internet, competent legal research is easily accessible with a few keystrokes. Inadequate legal research by Connecticut lawyers should not be happening. A failure to adequately perform legal research by a Connecticut lawyer may be legal malpractice – and we can help.