Legal Malpractice FAQ

1. What is legal malpractice?

Legal malpractice is the failure of a lawyer to render competent professional service to a client. If the client is damaged as a result of the lawyer’s failure, the client may have a claim against the lawyer for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of contract.

2. Is a legal malpractice claim the same as a grievance or bar complaint?

No. A legal malpractice claim is a civil claim/action asserting that the lawyer’s conduct fell below the standard of care and caused damage(s). A grievance or bar complaint is made to the Texas State Bar. The state bar can discipline an attorney up to and including disbarring him or her or suspending his or her license.

3. Are legal malpractice cases taken on a contingent basis?

Yes. Most of the legal malpractice cases we take are on a contingent basis. As such, we enter into a written fee agreement in which we get paid a percentage of the recovery at the end.

4. How can I get my file from the lawyer?

If you don’t already have a copy of your file, simply write a letter requesting the file. You are entitled to it.

5. What if my lawyer is is still representing me in the case?

Prosecuting a legal malpractice case consists of a proving a case within a case. In other words, the injured client has the burden to prove the merits of their underlying case in order to demonstrate that the lawyer’s negligence/breach was the proximate cause of them losing the underlying case. As such, if the underlying case is still pending, a legal malpractice case may not be ripe until the case is over.