Legal Ethics and Malpractice

Most people know that attorneys have a code of conduct they are supposed to follow. There are ethical goals and then there are mandatory requirements that set the bare minimum of ethical requirements for lawyers.

An attorney's ethical violations could put his or her license in jeopardy. Many people believe that if they file an attorney complaint with the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (which is the licensing board for attorneys in Tennessee), then somehow the Board will help make things right.

Don't count on it. That is not necessarily the Board's job.

The Board's duty is to deal with the attorney and the claimed ethical violation. No one should ever think that because a claim is filed with the Board that the victim will get relief. That is not the Board's responsibility.

To get monetary relief, the victim must timely file a legal malpractice claim. SO DON'T WAIT!

Many believe that their legal ethics and malpractice claim against a lawyer will be protected by filing with the Board. It will not. A victim must contact an attorney to timely file that legal malpractice claim in order to get justice.

The term "attorney ethics" can also be misleading. Many inaccurately believe that just because an attorney treats a client wrong and violates a published ethical rule that a legal malpractice claim exists. The Tennessee Code of Professional Conduct clearly states that ethics violations do not establish a legal wrong, but instead are only grounds for attorney discipline. The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued opinions saying the same thing about how attorney misconduct in TN may differ from legal malpractice.

That however should not discourage anyone from seeking help from attorneys experienced in legal malpractice.

To establish a claim for legal malpractice in Tennessee, a victim must show that they suffered harm because their attorney failed to do what a reasonably competent attorney would have done. This is known as the "standard of care."

Tennessee legal malpractice law provides that the "standard of care" and the "ethical" standards in many cases can overlap. Chances are that in many situations, if your attorney committed an "ethical" violation which caused you monetary loss, that attorney could have violated the "standard of care"—and a legal malpractice claim may exist.

Each situation turns on its own facts; therefore, before any final decision can be made as to whether an "ethical" violation constitutes "malpractice," a competent legal malpractice attorney should be consulted.

Whatever you do, don't delay contacting a lawyer just because you contacted the Board. Your delay could cost you your case.

Contact a qualified legal ethics and malpractice attorney today!

When you need help taking legal action against an attorney whose actions caused you harm, contact Tennessee Legal Malpractice with offices in East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee. For over 20 years, attorneys Ed Graves and David Day have been helping victims of legal malpractice recover money to which they are legally entitled. Their personalized approach to law means you won’t receive cookie-cutter representation, but representation that is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.

Call 865-544-1974 when you need help with a claim for attorney misconduct in Tennessee.

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