One of the most common types of legal malpractice is an attorney’s failure to apply the law to the client’s case. An attorney must competently represent his or her client and to do so, must conduct the necessary (and reasonable) amount of legal research for the client’s case. Attorneys have access to a multitude of resources to use when it comes time to investigate and perform the necessary research pertinent to the client’s case. These resources range from the various online research databases to local law libraries. There is rarely a shortage of information when it comes to legal issues, and it is important for an attorney to fully research the law to be certain that he understands how it applies to the particular facts of the client’s case.
Attorneys representing clients outside of their normal area of practice might be among the most common legal malpractice defendants sued for failure to apply the law. For example, a real estate or divorce attorney handling a commercial or business litigation matter for a client might fail to adequately research and understand common legal principles of commercial or business litigation. Other attorneys might simply fail to adequately research and investigate the relevant and applicable law necessary to win their client’s case.
Remember, as always, each of the elements of a legal malpractice case must be present in order to sustain an action against an attorney, including damages caused by the attorney’s alleged negligence.