What is Legal Malpractice? – All lawyers are required to meet a statewide standard of competent representation. When a lawyer fails to do so and causes a client to suffer a loss, the lawyer can be held responsible for the money damages that result. Most, but not all, lawyers carry insurance to pay for such losses. Bringing such a claim is not easy and is often met by forceful resistance because of the negative impact on the lawyer’s reputation.
What Do I have to Prove? – Most malpractice cases are brought by a fomer client against his or her own lawyer. You will be required to prove that the lawyer’s work fell below the standard of care for lawyers in such a way that it caused you harm in your legal matter. Examples include poorly worded contracts, failure to obtain proper security for debts, missing a statute of limitations deadline, conflicts of interest by the lawyer in having multiple loyalties, failure to conduct a proper investigation, and missing court imposed deadlines leading to the exclusion of evidence. The negligence of the lawyer must result in harm; evidence that you would have been better off if your lawyer had done the job competently. Finally, you must be able to prove the amount of your loss and here the measure of that loss is different than most other personal wrongs in the legal system. With a few important exceptions, recoverable losses are limited to economic loss. Pain and suffering is, for the most part, not recoverable as damages in legal malpractice cases. The required proof is to provide evidence that persuades the judge or jury on a more likely than not basis, referred to by lawyers as “the preponderance of the evidence.” The criminal law burden of beyond a reasonable doubt is not applied to legal malpractice and the lawyer is not found “guilty” of malpractice. You win if you have proven your case to a civil standard of preponderance.
Knowledgeable Representation – Robert Wayne has achieved the highest possible rating through the Martindale-Hubbell rating system, which is a peer review process. He has been deemed “preeminent” in legal ability and “Above reproach” in his ethics. He has an AVVO rating of 10.0, again the highest achievable rating. He is a respected member of the bar and served on the Board of Trustees of the King County Bar Association. He was the chair of KCBA’s Judiciary & Litigation Committee for 4 years, chair of the Judicial Conferencing Committee for 2 years and was the lawyer representative on the King County Superior Court Judge’s Committee on Local Rules for 8 years. He has taught law students and lawyers how to do it right for over 40 years. He has represented both lawyers and clients for decades. He regularly serves as an arbitrator in civil cases. For five years he was a Special District Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association, investigating attorney misconduct for the disciplinary arm of the Bar Association.
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