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22. Legal Malpractice

Legal Malpractice

All lawyers are required to obey the guidelines of a code of ethics that are in effect where that lawyer practices. These rules, typically known as the Model Rules of Ethics, or Ethical Rules, address a lawyer's conduct in various situations. A lawyer has a duty, in all dealings and relations with a client, to act with honesty, Good Faith, fairness, integrity, and fidelity. He or she must possess the legal skill and knowledge that is ordinarily possessed by members of the profession. A lawyer should not take any action that is improper under these rules or that which even suggests the appearance of impropriety.

Errors made by an attorney, with negligence, are possibly considered malpractice. This category is based on the premise that an attorney has committed an error that would have been avoided by a competent attorney who exercises a reasonable standard of care. Lawyers who give improper advice, improperly prepare documents, fail to file documents, or make a faulty analysis in examining the title to real estate may be charged with Malpractice by their clients. A legal malpractice action, however, is not likely to succeed if the lawyer committed an error because an issue of law was unsettled or debatable.

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