One of the ways lawyers commit malpractice is to overlook the opportunities that are staring them in the face. When a case is just launching, there are many opportunities – prospects for gathering evidence, issuing subpoenas, conducting depositions, serving interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions, taking surveys and photographs, conducting inspections and, if appropriate, medical examinations.
It is sometimes astounding how many of these opportunities are simply ignored as a case evolves. Lawyers often allow the court’s deadlines to tick away, week by week, month by month, without serving subpoenas, without taking depositions, without gathering the necessary evidence.
By ignoring these crucial pre-trial discovery opportunities, a lawyer may be committing legal malpractice. The lawyer may not only be failing to optimize the evidence to the fullest extent, but he may also be running the risk that time will enable some of the evidence to disappear or become inaccessible.
As time goes by, witnesses move, change addresses, change names, become difficult to locate. Memories start to fade. People who once lived locally and were willing to cooperate may have relocated and are not so willing to return for a court proceeding or a deposition. Indeed, if enough time is wasted, the court will bar the evidence from being admitted. Eventually, the court will close off the pre-trial discovery period.
If your attorney ignored discovery opportunities, you may have a legal malpractice case on your hands. Mark S. Guralnick has handled legal malpractice cases throughout the country over the course of more than 30 years. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick.