is the term for negligence
, breach of fiduciary duty
, or breach of contract
by an attorney
that causes harm to his or her client. In order to rise to an actionable level of negligence, the injured party must show that the attorney's acts were not merely the result of poor strategy, but that they were the result of errors that no reasonable attorney would make. Furthermore, legal malpractice requires the showing of an injury that would not have happened had the attorney not been negligent. If the injury might have occurred despite different (non-negligent) actions by the attorney, no cause of action will be permitted. Legal malpractice can also occur when an attorney breaches a fiduciary duty to his or her client. This occurs when attorneys act in their own interest instead of to their client's, to the detriment of their client. A claim for legal malpractice may also arise when an attorney breaches the contract they sign with their client.
A common basis for a legal malpractice claim arises where an attorney misses a deadline for a filing of a paper with the court, and this error is related to the ending of the case.
Few lawyers will bring malpractice suits against their own, the other members of their profession. Consequently, cases of legal malpractice are rare in comparison to other types of professional malpractice (such as medical malpractice or breaches of fiduciary duty).