It is difficult to believe that an attorney would lose a file or misplace evidence in this day and age. Yet, we still get calls to this effect. In fact, if you Google the words “my attorney lost my file,” you’ll find a surprising number of hard-luck stories from people whose attorneys simply lost their case files and allowed their cases to go into default. A sad situation, indeed.
There is no excuse why lawyers are not saving their clients records electronically nowadays. Of course, we still maintain paper files. But we make every effort to scan as much as we can. We save as much of each client’s file as possible to our hard drives. Our software programs contain all of the essential contact information, notes, transactional histories, and timelines. Evidence, correspondence, photographs, pleadings, medical records, briefs, motions and related materials are all electronically saved.
When an attorney loses a file or misplaces evidence, it is symptomatic of a much larger problem:
- The attorney is not communicating with the client, and thus there is no regular reason to be utilizing the file;
- The attorney is not communicating with other parties in the case, and thus there is no regular reason to be utilizing the file or the evidence in the case.
- No lawsuit has likely yet been filed; thus, there is no ongoing correspondence or notices from the court or with opposing attorneys. Again, this would suggest that there is no regular reason to be utilizing the file or the evidence in the case. It also potentially suggests that the law firm is not carefully monitoring the statute of limitations.
A client has a right to see her file, or the contents of the file, from time to time. If you are receiving regular correspondence and communications from your lawyer, this may not be a concern. Yet, if you are in the dark about the progress of your case, you may want to inspect your file. If your lawyer cannot produce your file on demand, or if there is an unusual response to your request to see your file, you may want to switch lawyers.
Malpractice by lawyers often occurs long before the client discovers it. We, at the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick, apply our investigative and legal skills to reconstructing the facts and circumstances of such legal malpractice cases. If you have been a victim of a mishandled legal claim, please feel free to contact us for a free evaluation of your case at 1-866-337-2900.