St. Mary's Law Journal


Little hard data exists concerning legal malpractice in Texas. What’s more, few legal law malpractice rulings are published. To date, there are only fifty written opinions on legal malpractice from Texas intermediate appellate courts. The activity that most often gave rise to a claim of legal malpractice involved the preparation, filing, and transmittal of documents, accounting for about a quarter of all claims. In San Antonio, Chief Justice Alma Lopez of the Fourth District Court of Appeals discussed common issues she sees in her courtroom. The issues ranged from failures to follow simple court rules to more substantial failures of candor with a tribunal. Interestingly, statistics indicate there has been a substantial decline in claims based on missing statute of limitations periods and failing to docket and calendar correctly. This is likely thanks to the incorporation of new technology and calendar systems. Use of this kind of technology could well decrease the number or severity of legal malpractice claims which could otherwise devastate a lawyer's practice. Furthermore, when it comes to legal malpractice in Texas, the goal should be for lawyers and the judiciary to work diligently with one another. Judges should freely give guidance to lawyers when given the opportunity to clarify the law. Likewise, lawyers should realize the benefits of assisting the court and recognize that all judges have a view which will impact the case. Nonetheless, legal ethics requires us to balance the obligations to the client and to other parties for the overall benefit of justice.


St. Mary's University School of Law