Some attorneys across Missouri and the rest of the nation are taking on too many clients and cases. Their decision to do so often leads to subpar performance and allegations of legal malpractice. There is a clear link between overwork and oversight, and when attorneys drop the ball and a client’s case suffers because of it, clients may be able to seek damages from the negligent attorney.
According to the American Bar Association, overwork is so common among today’s attorneys that it is now the leading cause of legal malpractice lawsuits.
Why overwork occurs
The legal field is a competitive one. Sometimes, attorneys feel in competition with one another to secure the most clients or bill the most hours. Working too many hours may lead to emotional, mental health or substance abuse struggles, all of which may also impact a lawyer’s performance.
What happens when overwork occurs
When an attorney has too much on his or her plate, it often hinders the attorney’s ability to properly represent clients. It may lead that attorney to take shortcuts, blow deadlines or otherwise drop the ball. When a lawyer overlooks something important relating to a case, the action may constitute negligence. Overworked lawyers may also struggle to get enough sleep, and this may lead to a host of additional performance-related issues.
If a lawyer has too much on his or her plate to represent a client properly, that attorney has an ethical duty to refuse to take the case. Otherwise, the client may be able to attempt to hold the attorney liable in a legal malpractice suit.