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Failure to know or apply the law

Failure to know or apply the law is, according to the American Bar Association, the leading type of alleged error in legal malpractice claims. When you retain an attorney, you expect that attorney to have a knowledge of the law that goes well beyond what the average person would be expected to have. Because an attorney represents you, if he or she lacks relevant legal knowledge or fails to apply the law in a way that furthers your interests, then that attorney may have engaged in legal malpractice. Below is a brief look at what failure to know/apply the law consists of.

Failure to know

One of the main reasons you hire an attorney is because you assume they have greater knowledge of the law then you do. Attorneys typically go through years of vigorous training and education in order to obtain that knowledge. Furthermore, they often have access to legal resources that can help them stay on top of recent legal developments. If your attorney fails to know or understand a law--and if that failure to know harms your case or interests--then you may be able to pursue a legal malpractice claim.

Failure to apply

If your attorney does not know how the law pertain to your case, then he or she will likely fail to apply the law correctly. Again, this is an example of legal malpractice. In some cases, your attorney may be knowledgeable of the law, but he or she may fail to apply the law correctly in your case. This situation can arise for a number of different reasons, such as the attorney simply being forgetful, failing to apply the law due to a conflict of interest, or simply understanding the law but not understanding how that law should be applied. In any case, failure to apply the law is a serious ethical violation and a violation of the trust that you place in your attorney.

Legal malpractice

You expect your attorney to represent your legal interests effectively and competently. If he or she fails to do so, it can be challenging to know where to turn to for help. Fortunately, the team at Weisberg Law is experienced in handling these complex cases. If you are concerned that you may have been the victim of legal malpractice, contact us today to find out how we can help protect your rights.


American Bar Association. "The Most Common Legal Malpractice Claims by Type of Alleged Error." Dan Pinnington. July/Aug 2010.

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