What Is Legal Malpractice?

Legal Malpractice is the negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of contract by your attorney. You hire an attorney with the expectation that they will protect your rights and follow through with the plan contractually.

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Negligence by an attorney is something that likely could have been avoided. Attorneys are supposed to help you with challenging legal matters, not commit their own mistakes. The failure of an attorney to be reasonable and careful in his duties is called negligence. Under the law, the remedy for attorney negligence is filing a civil lawsuit. In order to prove negligence by an attorney you must prove these four elements: duty, breach of duty, proximate cause and damages.


A lawyer is considered to have a fiduciary relationship with his or her client, which is a duty greater than the ordinary duty of reasonable care. An attorney-client relationship is the basis for fiduciary duty to a client. The only way for an attorney to prove that they did not owe duty is to provide evidence that the person in question was never a client. It can also be proven by the fact that an attorney’s actions of negligence happened before an attorney-client relationship existed.

Breach Of Duty

Standard of practice is the legal concept by which breach of duty is determined. This concept creates a line to judge whether the conduct by the legal professionals conduct falls under the standard of care. If a legal professional is deemed to have been negligent they may be liable to any person injured as a result of the negligence.

Proximate Cause

A plaintiff bringing forth a legal malpractice claim must also prove that their lawyer’s conduct was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s damages. This is in addition to proving the existence of a duty and a breach of that duty.


The final element of a legal malpractice case is the damages. As a plaintiff, you must prove that you were damaged as a result of the lawyer’s negligence. In some cases, the lawyer accused of malpractice will take the position of his client’s former adverse party. An example of this is when the defense lawyer working to defend the negligent lawyer argues that the client would have suffered no damages by a failure to file a lawsuit in the time allowed by statute of limitations. It would be argued that the client suffered no damages because the lawsuit was without merit and would produce zero damages. Thus, the plaintiff must prove he or she won the first case in order to win the second one.

Next Steps

The Davis Kelin Law Firm handles legal malpractice cases that took place in New Mexico. If you believe your attorney was negligent, breached fiduciary duty and breached the contract you agreed upon, you may be able to file a claim with the help of one of our attorneys. Our attorneys will let you know if the costs and consequences of moving forward with a legal malpractice case would be in your best interest. We have a full grasp of the amount of damages and details of the case that make it worth moving forward with a legal malpractice case.

Albuquerque’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm (505) 273-6208 – Trusted Since Our Inception!