Attorneys make mistakes. Sometimes, a mistake may compel a client to file a legal malpractice claim. How much impact this type of allegation will have on your license to practice law will depend on the severity of the claim and the amount of damage suffered by your client. Possible disciplinary actions run the gamut from a dismissal of the claim to disbarment.
Factors used to determine malpractice
You are ethically bound to act in the best interest of your client. You may have very well done so. That said, we’ve all had clients who are disappointed with the outcome of a case. However, dissatisfaction alone is not enough to sustain a malpractice claim. Your client must have experienced significant harm to even get past the first hurdle. Other factors that must be met to support a malpractice claim include:
- Evidence that the case was handled negligently
- Evidence that you breached your duty of care to your client
- Evidence that you violated the California Rules of Professional Conduct
When your client has filed a claim against you, you will be subject to investigation by The California State Bar. The action taken will depend on the findings of the investigation. No evidence of malpractice will result in a dismissal. If a finding of malpractice is sustained, you might want to consider reaching a settlement. However, be aware that, even with a settlement, the malpractice claim may become public information. It’s crucial that you work with a professional who is skilled in the practice of professional licensure defense.