To prove legal malpractice, your legal malpractice attorney must prove all of the following by a preponderance (more than 50%) of the evidence:
- An attorney-client relationship;
- Negligence in the representation (i.e., a mistake);
- That the negligence caused a injury; and
- The fact and extent of the injury alleged (i.e., damages).
While that sounds simple, it isn't. You need skilled and experienced legal malpractice attorneys to prove that legal malpractice occurred. Michigan's law governing lawyers is extremely complex with many nuances. For example, not all attorney-client relationships have a clear beginning, middle and end. It can be difficult to determine whether an attorney-client relationship exists. "Negligence" does not extend to strategic decisions or attorney judgments. When is the failure to call a witness malpractice, and when is it a strategic decision? More importantly, how do you prove it was not strategy? To prove proximate causation, if you lost your case, you need to prove "the case within the case." In other words, you need to prove that but-for the attorney's negligence, you would have won your case. Sometimes, the proximate causation standard is lower, such as when a settlement position was significantly compromised. You also need to prove you were injured.
The law in this area clearly favors attorneys. You need no-nonsense attorneys on your side. Hoffer & Sheremet legal malpractice lawyers are trial attorneys and we know legal malpractice law inside and out. Our skill is well-respected in the legal community. For that reason, we are many times able to encourage your former attorney to make things right without litigation.