At the heart of any legal malpractice case is usually an examination of the accusation that an attorney violated the professional conduct standards.
According to the American Bar Association, the formal name of the standards is the Rules of Professional Conduct. They help to ensure an attorney follows standards set for the profession on how to behave ad interact with clients. If you feel your attorney has not followed these rules of conduct, you may use that as the basis for your case.
The Rules of Professional Conduct are generally ethical in nature. They reflect the ideas of attorney-client privilege, obligations your attorney has to you to do a good job and the assumption the attorney will operate only within the law.
It is in your best interest to have some idea of the rules prior to working with an attorney. This will allow you to understand when a breach occurs.
Some of the specific issues that may come up in regards to the conduct rules include situations where the attorney does not act accordingly to normal standards, such as missing deadlines or not conducting a proper investigation to gather evidence.
Another common area of concern is inadequate communication. Your lawyer should always keep you updated on what is happening with your case. If you ask questions, he or she should provide answers. It is also important that your attorney will provide you with a proper accounting of how he or she is spending the money you pay for fees.
If you notice any behavior that seems outside of the professional conduct standards, you should make a note of them and how they negatively impact your case.