Attorneys are supposed to do everything they can to represent their clients. Whether the case is civil or criminal, attorneys have strict guidelines and rules to follow. However, not every lawyer follows the rules. If you would like to know more, check out these three common examples of attorney misconduct.
1. Lack of Due Diligence
Lack of due diligence simply means the lawyer didn't do their job. Before the trial, an attorney is supposed to gather all the facts, evidence, witness statements, etc. If they neglect to do this, especially if you've specifically told them where to find the evidence or with whom to speak, you may be able to sue for lack of due diligence.
The problem with a lack of due diligence is that it leads to unfair outcomes. In the case of criminal charges, it may lead to a guilty verdict for someone who is innocent. Even if they are guilty, a lack of due diligence may lead to a heavier punishment. If it turns out the attorney didn't do their due diligence, the trial may even be thrown out.
2. Misleading Advertising
Misleading advertising is usually done without malice. Instead, it is done to entice customers. However, that doesn't mean it can't lead to issues. For example, if an attorney claims they are "the best" at personal injury claims and win "100 percent" of all their case, it's a red flag. In fact, depending on where you live, it may be illegal to use terms like "the best" and "expert."
For client recommendations, attorneys must ensure they also follow the rules. The main rule is that the testimonials must be honest and given freely without coercion or a bribe. In some cases, the misleading advertising is more overt and purposeful, such as claiming to specialize in an area of law with which the attorney is unfamiliar.
3. Client Abandonment
When an attorney agrees to take your case, they can't just drop you for no reason. If they do, this is known as client abandonment, and it is a form of misconduct. An attorney must request to be removed from a case, and the judge must agree before an attorney can drop you as a client. Therefore, they must have a valid reason for dropping you, such as a conflict of interest.
Sometimes, client abandonment isn't as obvious because the attorney doesn't fully drop you. Instead, they may stop or barely communicate with you, such as not providing you with the possible consequences and what's happening with the case.
Attorneys are held to high ethics and standards, but some break those rules. Luckily, you can hold an attorney accountable for attorney misconduct. If you would like to know more, it may be time to fill out an attorney disciplinary complaint form.