Legal Malpractice: Should I Take My Attorney to Small Claims Court?

Legal malpractice cases have a high burden of proof, and it is often difficult to find legal representation while pursuing a lawsuit against another attorney. Some people choose to lower the stakes and take their attorney to small claims court where attorney representation is often unnecessary. This is typically not a smart or easy solution, however. According to a study by the National Center for State Courts, 20% of defendants in small claims court win outright. In another 20% of the cases, the defendant is ordered to pay substantially less than the plaintiff demands.

There are several disadvantages to taking your own case to small claims court:

Limited Damages Awarded: Small claims court limit’s the amount you can collect  to $3,000 in Missouri and $10,000 in Illinois. If you are owed more than these amounts, the only way to collect that much is to hire an attorney to file a legal malpractice lawsuit against your former lawyer.

Skills: when representing yourself, you must arrange for all documents to be served to the defendants, plan your own strategy and be prepared to present your arguments publicly. These steps can be challenging for someone who does not have experience in legal representation. An attorney who is experienced in legal malpractice cases will know the best approach to take in your individual case.

Difficulty Collecting: Even if you do win a small claims court case against your attorney, it can be very difficult to collect unless you file additional documents for a lien or garnishment. A legal malpractice attorney can assist with the process of debt collection from your former attorney.

If you feel your attorney is guilty of legal malpractice, you have options. Don’t go up against your former attorney without an experienced legal malpractice attorney on your side.

Legal malpractice cases are one of the Meehan Law Firm‘s areas of expertise. If you feel you have been wronged by past legal counsel and would like a consultation on the case, contact us today at (314) 725-9994. At the Meehan Law Firm, your consultation is free.