There is a common false perception that all lawyers are a professional community that will not go against each other in a court of law as a matter of occupational respect. The truth is that there are attorneys who actually practice in the legal malpractice field, including in Florida. There are indeed situations where an attorney fails to provide effective representation for their clients, as many times the final result of their counsel results in a bad outcome. There is also an element of willfulness that is involved as well when all case evidence is evaluated. Specific rules apply when determining both negligence and willfulness.
The primary issue with any malpractice lawsuit is negligence. The duty of the plaintiff is to prove the attorney was willfully neglectful in representing a case or providing legal advice. Just as with any other professional practice, mistakes will happen when representing a client. However, purposely misleading a client or failing to fully represent the client in a certain area of law can establish negligence in the view of the court. This is the first step in building any legal malpractice claim.
Just as in other civil actions, a resolution of the matter will include some amount of commensurate financial damages consideration. The question in a legal malpractice lawsuit will focus on actual damages as well as willful negligence and determining that damage amount in terms of dollars can be challenging.
Filing a legal malpractice suit against another attorney may be one of the most difficult legal actions that any legal professional can take. The mere fact that an attorney is willing to take the case is a good sign, but it is vital to have the right attorney representing any legal malpractice case. Nuances can matter significantly, and proving negligence is vital for a successful outcome.