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I know enough not to think I can represent myself in a legal malpractice case but...

Sacramento, CA |

I have had the information relating to my legal malpractice case in the hands of a very competent legal malpractice attorney for months now. We have had some back and forth during this time and he says he is very busy but is not passing on the case. I just realized that the one-year statute of limitations from the date of me discovering the malpractice is up in less than a week. I don't believe he can/will put together the initial pleading in this short time and, no, I don't want a claim against him! It seems as if there is a pretty liberal procedure for amending the the initial pleading including adding causes of action. Would it be safe for me to start this (filing the claim within the statute of limitations) by myself with the idea of enlisting an attorney going forward?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. It is possible, but I would really try to find a lawyer with enough time now to do it right, the first time. The first impression you make will impact the liklihood of an earlier settlement. You also need someone who has the time to devote to you matter and communicate more effectively with you.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. I think it would be smart to start....but do not file any pleadings unless having a sit-down with your existing counsel. He may have started the pleading, and if he hasn't, at least you can then protect your best interests and file last second!


  3. Best bet is to retain a lawyer so you don't sabotage your good claim.


  4. Ask this attorney what his plans are for surviving the S o L. Has he negotiated an interim stand-still agreement? Does he have a standard or existing form pleading that can be filed to toll the SoL? Before taking action in your own untrained hands, lean on this lawyer's skill, experience, and potential accountability.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  5. Remind your attorney about the Statute, and if he or she doesn't want to represent you, you can always ask that attorney to draft the lawsuit and place your name on it as "attorney pro se" which means you are currently representing yourself, but you need to get someone asap.

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