What constitutes legal malpractice?

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What constitutes legal malpractice?

My attorney failed to file the papers to get money when the judge (2 different times) ordered my ex’s assets frozen ($12,000). The money is now gone. Also, the attorney told me he filed (and billed me) for filing liens on 2 properties that my ex owned, however they were sent to the wrong venue and never recorded. Additionally, the judge ordered my ex to keep life insurane paid up with me as benificiary. Lawyer never notified insurance company, so my ex dropped the policy. On top of all of this, my lawyer charged me for 12 hours that he had consultation with senior partner. Yet did nothing when I found that ex forged my signatures on mortgage documents. If I don’t pay, what is the worst that can happen to me? Should I speak with a malpractice attorney? In Cumberland County, NJ.

Asked on May 18, 2011 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legal malpractice generally is the failure of an attorney to comply with the rules of Professional Responsibility.  There are ABA (American Bar Association) rules of Professional Responsibility as well as your state's rules of Professional Responsibility.

The items you mentioned may constitute malpractice.  You can file a complaint against your attorney with the NJ State Bar.  It would also be advisable to speak with a malpractice attorney.

If you don't pay the fee, the attorney could sue you to recover the fee; however, your State Bar may have fee arbitration to resolve fee disputes between attorneys and clients.


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