When people entrust their case to an attorney, they do so trusting that the attorney will follow through will zealously advocate for their interests and will protect their property. Unfortunately, a minority of attorneys fail at the ethical and legal duties they owe to their clients. When such a failure occurs, people sometimes then file legal malpractice lawsuits against the attorney.
While there are many varieties of legal malpractice, there are commonly occurring ones. The most prevalent type of claim is filed against attorneys for not knowing the law or applying it incorrectly. This type of malpractice is usually the result of inexperience. Attorneys who are inexperienced in a particular area of law are supposed to seek the help of a more knowledgeable attorney in the particular area. Other common types involve people failing to follow through on cases, either by missing deadlines, putting tasks off, forgetting to calendar hearings and dates and not responding to clients.
Probably one of the most egregious types of legal malpractice that occurs is when the attorney commits fraud. Attorneys who do this might have taken client funds entrusted to them for their own personal benefit or committed other types of fraud in order to reap personal financial gain. Other errors may be categorized as basic failures, such as failing to obtain a client's consent prior to acting, failing to react to their calendar when hearings are calendared by not showing up and failing to withdraw or withdrawing in an inappropriate manner.
Fortunately, most attorneys represent their clients with the highest degree of ethics and advocacy. Sometimes, even when a person is unhappy with results, the attorney will have committed no error. In other cases, however, in which the negligence of an attorney or his or her willful actions lead to actual harm, damages may be recoverable in legal malpractice lawsuits.
Source: American Bar Association, "The Most Common Legal Malpractice Claims by Type of Alleged Error", Dan Pinnington, December 02, 2014