Naperville, IL asked in Legal Malpractice for Illinois

Q: My divorce lawyer died and I missed some deadlines while waiting to be transferred to a new attorney at the firm. Is

this considered legal malpractice?

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1 Lawyer Answer

James G. Ahlberg

Answered
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Rochelle, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: There's not enough information here to give a solid answer to your question. I suggest making an appointment with a lawyer to discuss the matter. To express it as simply as possible, there are at least three elements needed to pursue such a claim: (1)a duty owed to the client, (2)a breach of that duty, and (3)the existence of damages resulting from the breach of the duty. If you have a problem with your claim (and I don't know whether you do) it is likely to arise under the second or third of the the three elements listed.

We have to start from the premise that the death of your lawyer is not, in and of itself, a breach of a duty to you. If you meet with a lawyer about this, he or she is going to want to know many things, but these two questions will be paramount:

(A) Did the deceased lawyer's firm manage to reset the deadlines so that any breach otherwise existing was cured and damages were avoided?

(B) What measurable sort of damages did you suffer (other than inconvenience)?

If the answer to (A) is "yes," or the answer to (B) is "none," it's highly unlikely you have a case legal malpractice case that can be pursued.

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