A lawsuit against a lawyer is not a simple matter, so you should carefully read this article to understand when you can and should file a lawsuit against a lawyer, and what you must do before filing it. Filing a claim in cases that do not correspond to what is written in this article will most likely lead to the rejection of your claim against the lawyer, and your charging significant legal costs.
In any case, before filing a lawsuit against a lawyer, you should contact and coordinate a consultation with attorney Eddie Blitshtein in order to examine the case relevant to you individually, and suggest possible courses of action in order to increase your chances of success.
Our firm's clients have won significant financial compensation thanks to the lawsuits we filed on their behalf against lawyers who caused them damages.
In this article, attorney Eddie Blitshtein will teach you what you should do before filing a lawsuit against a lawyer, and what legal arguments you should be familiar with in order to understand whether there is a chance that the court will accept your lawsuit, and what the amount of financial compensation you may receive (see a sample judgment below).
Before filing a lawsuit against a lawyer
First, it is very important to understand that you cannot and should not file a lawsuit against a lawyer when it is not a real case in which the lawyer was negligent (dissatisfaction with the treatment or the result is not enough). The reason for this is clear – if it is not negligence, a claim against the lawyer will be rejected and the court will charge you with legal costs, which may reach very high amounts (thousands of shekels and even much more in exceptional cases).
So if you are not satisfied with your lawyer and you decided to "take revenge", "harass" a lawyer just like that – filing a lawsuit against a lawyer would probably not be the right step.
Another important thing that must be understood before filing a lawsuit against an attorney is that not every mistake by a lawyer is a reason to sue for professional negligence . For example: a lawyer who chose a certain tactic in order to file a financial claim and conduct the trial, lost the trial itself, even though he made the best of efforts to achieve the best result for his client In such a case it is not at all certain that filing a claim against the lawyer for negligence will end in victory in court.
On the other hand, in a situation where a lawyer does not handle the case at all or if the lawyer had to file a statement of defense at a certain time and he did not do so without a plausible explanation (such as: submitting a request for an extension of time for filing a statement of defense), it is likely that the court will accept the the claim, and will obligate the lawyer for the client's damages.
What do you need to do to file a lawsuit against a lawyer?
As in any other civil lawsuit, you must collect documents and evidence that support the plaintiff's claims. A lawsuit against a lawyer without evidence will lead to serious failure. After collecting the evidence, it is recommended to consult with a civil lawyer to understand whether you have sufficient evidence.
What is the evidence necessary for success in a lawsuit against a lawyer?
Good evidence for the purpose of filing a lawsuit can be correspondence between the lawyer and the client in which the lawyer admits that he forgot to do an assignment or did not submit a document to the court.
Call recordings may be another good piece of evidence. In this case, the conversation must be transcribed and a statement from the transcriber must be attached.
Sometimes the court itself states in the minutes or in the judgment that the lawyer did not perform properly or forgot to perform what he was supposed to perform. In such a case, it will be more difficult for the lawyer to defend himself in a lawsuit against him.
What should you do before filing a lawsuit against a lawyer?
Before filing a lawsuit against an attorney, it is recommended to send a warning letter before taking legal proceedings, for several reasons:
- It is very possible that the lawyer will agree with you that he did not do his job to the best of his ability. In such a case, it is possible that filing a lawsuit against the lawyer will be unnecessary, since you will reach an agreement that will be acceptable to you (for example, receiving some amount of the fees paid to the lawyer, or all of it. The lawyer may even agree to compensate you in some way).
- Even if the lawyer does not agree with you that he was negligent (and in most cases he will not agree with you on this matter) it is likely that he will answer your claims in writing. It is possible that precisely in the lawyer's written answer there will be some data that will help you in managing the legal process against him. In any case, his claims will be known to you even before filing a lawsuit against the attorney.
- Financial expenses in managing a lawsuit against a lawyer – a written request before filing a lawsuit against a lawyer may save paying fees to the new lawyer you will hire for this matter. The court fee that you will have to pay when filing a lawsuit against a lawyer should also not be ignored.
- Time and nerves – before filing any lawsuit, and certainly in cases where you want to file a lawsuit against a lawyer, you forget to take into account that the legal process involves investing a lot of time (meetings with the lawyer who will represent you, reading affidavits, attending court hearings, attending meetings and mediation, travel to hearings, etc.), and yes, a lot of stress.
In many cases, you will see that the procedure does not go as expected (and this does not mean that your new lawyer is negligent either), so sometimes it is worthwhile to waive a certain amount in advance in order to reach an agreement with the negligent lawyer, thus avoiding Wasting your time and unnecessary worries.
- Not every lawyer is ready (and knows) to file a lawsuit against a lawyer.
The provisions of the law regarding a claim against a lawyer
Section 54 of the Bar Association Law:
In fulfilling his duties, a lawyer will act in favor of his client with loyalty and dedication, and will help the court to make a judgment.
Rule 2 of the Bar Association rules :
A lawyer will represent his client faithfully, with dedication, without fear, while maintaining decency, the respect of the profession and respect for the court.
The common denominator in both sections is the statement that the lawyer must act for the benefit of the client with loyalty and devotion . This determination has great significance in regards to the issue of professional negligence, and the situation of a lawsuit against a lawyer.
For example; When a lawyer decides on a certain strategy in managing a claim, and in the end it turns out that this strategy was wrong and led to a negative result from the client's point of view, this does not mean that this is necessarily a situation of professional negligence and this does not necessarily justify a claim against the lawyer. That is, a mistaken judgment on the part of the lawyer will not necessarily be grounds for filing a lawsuit against the lawyer for professional negligence.
Even if a lawsuit is filed against a lawyer in such a case, the chances of it being accepted are not high.
On the other hand, in a situation where the lawyer must submit, for example, affidavits, an appeal on time , a request for permission to defend himself (even if he does not believe that this request will benefit the client), and he did not submit them on time (or at all), this will, in most cases, be a good reason for a lawsuit against the lawyer law. If this is a situation where the lawyer is still representing you in the lawsuit, in these cases you should consider changing lawyer representation immediately
The provisions of the ruling regarding a claim against a lawyer
There is extensive ruling on the issue of professional negligence of lawyers and filing a lawsuit against a lawyer. In some cases it is even possible to file a class action against a lawyer. In most of the rulings, the statement that the lawyer has an increased duty of care towards his clients is repeated.
For example, it was determined in Tel Aviv 1273/04 Penthouse Rahmani Properties v . Yobb Pepper [(published in Nevo), 18.7.2010]:
"The duty of care of a lawyer towards his client is of the type of duty of care of service providers. The client relies on the skills, knowledge and professional duties of the lawyer, and the responsibility of the lawyer is professional responsibility. Therefore, the standard of care required of a lawyer towards his client is that of "lawyer "Reasonable law" and is higher than "the reasonable person", as President Barak said inCase 2625/02 Silvio Nahum v. Dornbaum, PD MH(3) 385 (2004) (hereinafter: Silvio Nahum case), at p. 424 -425:
"The standard is the level of skill and caution required of a professional towards those to whom he is indebted, along with the rules of ethics that determine the norms of behavior appropriate for a lawyer.""
In the matter of professional negligence, it was ruled as follows:
"There is no dispute that a lawyer owes his client a duty of care, to protect his affairs and to act for him with skill, professionalism and loyalty. The lawyer has a duty of care, like any other professional who provides a service, to act as a skilled and careful professional. In addition, the lawyer has a duty to behave towards His client is loyal and devoted (see s. 54 ofthe Law of the Bar Association, 5771-1961, Rule 2 ofthe Rules of the Bar Association (Professional Ethics), 5766-1986 and the judgment in the aforementioned Levy v. Sherman matter).
As scholars Friedman and Cohen point out, the responsibility for breaching the obligation to file a statement of defense or a request for permission to defend oneself as well as to file an appeal, as opposed to achieving a result of success in the substance of the matter in granting permission to defend oneself, in rejecting the claim or in winning the appeal, according to which the matter is an increased responsibility:
In our case, the defendant assumed the "representation of the client at the stage of the authorization to defend himself".The representation of the client at the stage of the authority to defend himself does not necessarily require the filing of a RL. Even ending the case in compromise before submitting the RL is "representing the client at the stage of the authority to defend himself" as stated in the agreement.
But failure to submit the BRL on time without having been legally extended to submit the BRL at another postponed date or without the case ending with an agreement in a compromise before the deadline for submitting the BRL – is not within the scope of the action options of a reasonable lawyer who has undertaken to represent the client at the authority stage to defend
As long as the case did not end in compromise before the deadline for submitting the BRL, a decision not to submit the BRL is not a decision that the lawyer can make on his own, without the conscious and explicit consent of the client, and this even if the lawyer believes that the BRL does not have any substance.
In doing so, the defendant was negligent towards the plaintiff and violated the agreement with him."
In this regard, see – Tel Aviv 45161-03-10 Aharon Chayon v. Yalon Michael Edgar Hecht [(published in Nevo), 12.30.2012].
Charging a lawyer for damage caused to the client
In some cases, professional negligence may lead to the lawyer being responsible for all the damage caused to the client , if and as long as a lawsuit is filed against the lawyer. Regarding this matter in Tel Aviv 7205-12-09 Lydia Yarmishin v. Daniel Darbkin, Adv.
"The lawsuit was filed by the plaintiff through the defendants. These are the defendants, who are lawyers and who provided the plaintiff with legal advice regarding the filing of the lawsuit. This is a lawsuit for the payment of a total of NIS 46,907.
It seems that the defendants must bear the payment of this amount, and this in view of their negligence in managing the claim, when this negligence ultimately led to the deletion of the claim…
The plaintiff submitted her claim for the monetary damage in the amount of NIS 46,445 only.The claim for payment of this amount must be accepted in full."
Is it possible to file a lawsuit against a lawyer without a lawyer?
Theoretically, this is possible, but it is definitely not recommended to conduct a lawsuit against a lawyer independently. In order to maximize the chances of a lawsuit, you should contact a lawyer who deals, among other things, in the field of the negligent lawyer.
In addition, for the purpose of filing a lawsuit against a lawyer, it is highly recommended to use a lawyer who is well acquainted with all the legislation relevant to professional negligence, as well as the many court rulings that exist in this matter.
Are there alternatives to filing a lawsuit against a lawyer?
Instead of filing a lawsuit against a lawyer, you can contact the Bar Association and file a complaint against a lawyer . The difference between the two is essential. While in cases of a lawsuit against a lawyer the person who hears the case is a judge, in cases of a complaint against a lawyer those who hear the complaint are lawyers who belong to the Ethics Committee of the Bar Association. People mistakenly assume that lawyers will never "punish" another lawyer so that in the future other lawyers won't "punish" them too. This is a wrong assumption.
Sometimes the penalties determined by the Ethics Committee are more severe than any compensation award you may win in court. In contrast to a lawsuit, in the event that a complaint is filed which turns out to be justified, this may even lead to the delay or removal of the lawyer from the Bar Association. This means that the lawyer will not be able to practice law.
What is better – a lawsuit against a lawyer or a complaint against a lawyer?
It is difficult to decide on this question and in most cases the answer to whether to file a lawsuit against a lawyer or a complaint against a lawyer depends on the specific circumstances of each client.
It may be worth considering taking a lawsuit against a lawyer and also a complaint against a lawyer. Such a decision has quite a few consequences and you should consider this option seriously.
Remember, not every mistake by a lawyer will be a good reason for filing a lawsuit against him for professional negligence. The law of unsubstantiated claims for professional negligence is to dismiss, and the claimant may even be required to pay court costs.