Peoria, IL asked in Legal Malpractice for Illinois

Q: What should I do if I'm near trial and I feel that my attorney mishandled my case?

I found out approximately 4 months prior to trial that my attorney have been disbarred for felonies. I was left with a junior attorney to fight against an attorney with 30-plus years and defending corporations. The state idhr found guilty on two of my charges one sexual harassment the other racial discrimination. However my attorney showed up to depose the company unprepared and got the ugly remarks from the judge. Prior to this was prior to being disbarred. The remaining attorney turned in documents late. And I just found out that summary judgment was granted on three of my charges. I do not feel my attorneys handle my case properly. what are my options?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Rochelle, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Don't assume your relatively inexperienced attorney is no match for the opponent with 30-plus years. The opposing attorney may underestimate the capabilities of your attorney, if nothing else.

Without details as to why your documents were turned in late, it is difficult to determine whether the lawyer was at fault.

Whether malpractice exists if summary judgment was entered against you on three of your charges depends on why the order(s) for summary judgment issued. At times a lawyer legitimately tries to pursue a novel legal theory that the judge determines cannot be pursued under existing law; that is not malpractice as a rule. On the other hand, if the lawyer is trying to pursue a well-established legal right but the pleadings he or she files are so poorly done they fail to state a case so that summary judgment is entered against you, it may well be malpractice. Your lawyer(s) should have advised you promptly of any summary judgment entered against you.

You asked about your options. You can probably fire your attorneys, unless you are so near trial that the judge insists they continue to represent you. Whether you can (or should) fire them at this point depends primarily on the complexity of your case and how near you are to trial -- for example, you may be ahead to have an ill-prepared lawyer as opposed to a lawyer who hasn't had the time to become familiar with your case. Whether you have a malpractice case against your existing attorneys and whether it is worth pursuing cannot be determined without having someone new review the facts, pleadings, court history and other circumstances involved in your case in depth.

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