Hiring an attorney means entrusting someone who has knowledge and professional experience to handle legal matters that may be too complex or risky to handle on one’s own. Attorney services can be costly, but ideally, the outcome is worth it. However, there are cases when an attorney does not provide the quality services a client expects and pays for. In addition to the expense of the attorney’s fee, the client may also suffer considerable negative consequences if the case does not go in his or her favor because of the attorney’s negligence.
Just because a case does not go favorably, however, does not mean the legal professional committed malpractice. Sometimes the client’s case is not strong enough no matter how much effort an attorney puts in. On the other hand, certain attorney behaviors may increase the likelihood that a case will not succeed, including any of the following:
- Failing to communicate with the client by not returning phone calls or even responding to registered letters
- Displaying incompetence, such as not showing up for a client’s hearing or neglecting to thoroughly examine the facts in a case
- Mishandling a client’s money, including holding it in a personal account or using it for personal reasons
- Lying in court or lying to the client
- Overcharging a client or refusing to clarify the billing process
- Committing a crime or acting unethically
A client may be able to resolve some of these matters through an open discussion with the attorney. However, if the actions of the counsellor lead to damages, the client may want to take additional steps. These may include filing a complaint with the North Carolina Bar Association and/or seeking redress through the civil courts.