In Texas, a legal malpractice action is based on negligence. Lawyers are held to the standard of care of a reasonably prudent attorney. A lawyer is negligent if he fails to act as an attorney of ordinary care would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. On the other hand, a lawyer who makes a reasonable decision in the handling of a case may not be held liable if the decision later proves to be imperfect. Cosgrove v. Grimes 774 S.W. 2d 662 (Tex. 1989).
Lawyers also owe their clients a fiduciary duty. In Texas, lawyers are held to the highest standards of ethical conduct in dealing with their clients. A lawyer must conduct his or her business with inveterate honesty and loyalty, always keeping the client’s best interest in mind. A lawyer’s fiduciary duty requires that he fully disclose to the client all material facts, that the lawyer refrain from self-dealing, and that he act in abundant good faith, which requires absolute candor, openness, honesty and the absence of any concealment or deception. When a lawyer breaches his fiduciary duty, he may be required to forfeit some or all of his fees, in addition to compensating the client for any damages as a result of the breach of fiduciary duty.
Proving a lawyer was negligent or breached his fiduciary duty can be difficult. Attorneys generally do not acknowledge mistakes they have made, and trying to make sense of your legal file on your own can be complicated. These cases can be challenging even for lawyers because there are many unique laws governing legal malpractice lawsuits. That’s why it’s important to hire an attorney who is experienced in suing lawyers and who is capable of holding lawyers accountable for their actions.
Even though most cases settle before going to court, it is important to have an attorney on your side that is experienced and willing to go to court should that be necessary. Unless the other side knows that your attorney is experienced and willing to try your case, you will never obtain the best settlement for your case.