May 062012

Under New Jersey law, legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to provide representation in accordance with the applicable standard of care.

When an attorney undertakes representation of a matter, they are representing that they have the knowledge and skill of other lawyers who practice law. In some cases, an attorney who represents that they have a specialized level of knowledge and skill will be held to the standard of care of other lawyers within that specialty.  For example, an estate lawyer would be held to the standard of other estate lawyers, and corporate lawyers to corporate lawyers.

New Jersey law does not require lawyers to guarantee favorable results for their clients. Lawyers may exercise their judgement and a mistake or error in judgement will not render a lawyer liable for legal malpractice. Lawyers will not be liable for a bad result so long as he or she exercised reasonable knowledge and skill in handing a matter.

In most cases of professional malpractice, an expert will be needed to establish the standard of care and offer an opinion that the lawyer or professional breached the applicable standard of care. In legal malpractice cases, another lawyer would serve as the expert.

In some situations, an expert will not be needed. When a lawyer’s actions or omissions clearly indicate a departure from the standard of care of  lawyers, no expert would be needed. For example, a lawyer who fails to file a claim within the applicable Statute of Limitations resulting in dismissal of the client’s case would be guilty of malpractice and no expert would be needed to establish negligence.

In order to prevail in a legal malpractice action in New Jersey, the injured party must also show that the lawyer’s malpractice caused some harm. The law requires showing that the lawyer’s actions or omissions were the proximate or legal cause of the harm suffered.

If you’d like to have your case reviewed by our New Jersey and Pennsylvania professional malpractice lawyers, call 215.925.4451. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

The legal malpractice lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia

*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case.  See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

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