29
Nov
10

The David Lefkowitz Series – Part III

If you commit malpractice and upset your client, you might find yourself the target of David Lefkowitz of The Lefkowitz Firm, LLC.  David recently did you the favor of writing an article for the Fulton County Daily Report (subscription required) on how to provide superior client services and avoid legal malpractice claims.  Here is the third part of that article.

Study the law – by David Lefkowitz

Have you ever noticed how many medical journals there are? It seems like doctors have so much to read in order to keep up with their area of practice. We need to keep up with the law as well, particularly our specific areas of practice.

Twenty three years ago, I was a brand new attorney entering a litigation practice. The late, great lawyer, Tom Magill, had hired me and was helping me learn how to be a lawyer. I will never forget a lesson he taught me: Read the Civil Practice Act, from beginning to end, at least once a year. What a great lesson that was, and I have always appreciated the advice.

These days, the rules of litigation are changing from year-to-year (actually, month-to-month, as the appellate courts issue opinions interpreting recent legislative changes). If you litigate, you need to keep up with the changes. And, I think, just as importantly, you need to review what you think you already know.

The statute of limitations for a loss of consortium claim is four years, right? Yes. But wait, what if the claim arises out of a medical malpractice claim? Then the statute of limitations is two years. This has been the law since 1976. Who knew? You did if you litigate and study the relevant law. (For inquiring minds, it’s O.C.G.A. §9-3-34). Whether you are a litigator, a transactional attorney (what’s new in the tax code?) a bankruptcy attorney or you handle intellectual property, you will protect the interests of your client, and by extension, you will protect your own financial interests, by keeping up with the law.

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A corollary to David’s advice is to not accept representation in areas of the law about which you are ignorant and unable to properly study and get knowledgable.  For a discussion on a related but broader subject, see How To Ruin Your Malpractice Insurer’s Day – I.

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