O'Connell & Riley, Esqs.

What If My Lawyer Gives Me Bad Advice on a Real Estate Transaction?

Lester hired an attorney to work with him on the purchase of a piece of land. Lester's attorney, Lee, advertised himself as having a specialty in the area of real estate law. Lee told Lester that he didn't think it was necessary to have a survey of the property done. After the closing, when Lester began construction of his home, Lester found that the property was 5.46 acres, as opposed to the 6.45 acres stated in the sale listing. Lester felt like his attorney let him down by not giving him better advice. What are Lester's options?

At some point, nearly everyone needs the services of a lawyer. A transaction involving the sale or purchase of real estate may well be one of those instances. Clearly, such a transaction often involves a significant sum of money, and most real estate transactions are somewhat complicated. In essence, the answer comes down to an analysis of the cost of hiring an attorney versus the benefit of hiring an attorney. Many attorneys, including real estate practitioners, offer a free initial consultation. It may be beneficial to interview a few attorneys in order to determine what types of services can be provided in connection with a real estate transaction.

What if I Have a Dispute with My Lawyer?

The hope is that you will be completely satisfied with the services provided by your lawyer. If, however, you have a dispute, talk with your lawyer directly and try to work it out. Often misunderstandings or miscommunications can be resolved. If you and your lawyer cannot come to an agreement, a formal grievance process is often available. The laws vary from state to state, but the state or local bar association should be able to provide you with additional information.

In considering whether to initiate a formal grievance against a lawyer, it is important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, an unsuccessful result in your case is not grounds for a grievance. You should consider the matter very carefully before proceeding with a grievance.

Lastly, in addition to filing a grievance, a client may be able to succeed in a legal action against an attorney if the attorney has committed malpractice. In such actions, monetary damages are usually recoverable in the event the client prevails.

Copyright 2011 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

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Martindale-Hubbell Practice Area Newsletter articles are authored by law professors, practicing attorneys and other professionals.
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