legal malpractice lawyers phoenix arizona  
 
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Adams & Clark, PC
Attorneys at Law

Suite 200
520 East Portland Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

(602) 258-3542
(602) 258-1377 FAX

 

How To Sue an Arizona Lawyer for Malpractice

 

Before you pursue a legal malpractice case against your lawyer, one of the first things you should do is obtain your file. The file belongs to the client, not the lawyer, so you are entitled to it upon request. Make sure you get the original file—not a copy. If the lawyer wants a copy, he can make a copy at his own expense.

Once you have your file, it should be reviewed thoroughly for information showing how the case was handled by the lawyer. For example, the file should contain information regarding who worked on the case, when this work was performed, and what the attorney's thought processes were while he was working on the case.

After a thorough review of the file, and additional investigation of the facts, the next step is to analyze the conduct of the lawyer and determine the type of claims the client has against the lawyer. Depending on the conduct of the lawyer, the client may have several different claims against the lawyer. These claims may include negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and other related claims. Depending on the type of claim, there may be a different measure of damages or recovery allowed. Many of these claims also have different statutes of limitations, and different rules determining when the statute of limitations begins to run on each claim.

Most legal malpractice cases require expert testimony to prove the lawyer's conduct was below the standard of care, so it is important to have the case reviewed by an expert as part of the case evaluation. Generally speaking, this should be done early in the case, but in some cases (i.e. clear liability such as when a lawyer has missed a filing deadline) this may be done later.

Once an analysis of the client's potential claims against the lawyer is complete, the next phase includes preparing and filing the lawsuit. Depending on the facts, the client may have a choice of different venues or locations to file suit. Determining the best location to file suit could have an impact upon the settlement value of the case.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the next phase involves conducting discovery. During this phase, it is important to gather and develop evidence necessary to prove that your lawyer committed the misconduct which forms the basis of your claims. It is extremely important to make sure you have enough evidence to prove that your lawyer's conduct caused your damages. For example, if you lost your underlying case because of your lawyer's negligence, you must show that you would have most likely won your case. Often, this is the most difficult and challenging part of the case. If you fail to have sufficient proof regarding your case, the judge may dismiss your case before it gets to trial. This is why it is important to have an experienced legal malpractice lawyer representing you.