Mistakes in Judgment
Without doubt, mistakes in judgment are often the most costly, and yet the most difficult to prove. Take, for example, the decision to settle a difficult injury case for an amount of money far less than the damages that the client has suffered. The lawyer justifies his decision by talking about the risk of losing. Even if 10 other lawyers would have said that the settlement amount was far too low, the law will probably not allow a suit against the first attorney, relying upon the “attorney judgment rule.” This rule basically says that if the error was one of judgment made by the lawyer in good faith, then even if the judgment looks wrong in retrospect, it cannot be the subject of legal malpractice claim. Attorney judgment cases can be won, but only when it can be shown that the judgment was so far out of the bounds of acceptable choices that it ceased to be a real judgment at all.