If you hire a lawyer who fails in his or her professional obligations to you, you have the right to seek damages due to legal malpractice. However, if you do not know exactly what your lawyer’s responsibilities to you consist of, it becomes more difficult to determine whether he or she has failed to fulfill them.
Generally speaking, your attorney has the responsibility to represent your interests, to obey the law and to behave in a way that is ethical. The American Bar Association explains your lawyer’s responsibilities in greater detail.
- Avoiding conflicts of interest
A lawyer should not represent you if your interests conflict with his or her own. Additionally, your lawyer should not represent someone in opposition to you while you are still his or her client.
- Maintaining confidentiality
Details of your case may be sensitive, damaging or embarrassing. Nevertheless, to provide adequate representation, your lawyer needs to know everything pertinent to your case. Therefore, your lawyer has an obligation to maintain strict confidentiality. There are only a few exceptions to this rule.
- Acting diligently
A lawyer should not take your case on if he or she is not able to commit adequate time and attention to it. Once the lawyer has committed to representing you, he or she should devote sufficient time and resources to it to avoid any unnecessary delays.
- Communicating effectively
Your lawyer should provide you with frequent updates on the status of your case. If you attempt to contact your attorney with an inquiry, he or she should respond to you in a timely manner with the answer.