There are some attorneys in Illinois who will not sue another law firm. I think this is hypocritical. I carry legal malpractice insurance and if I screw up in a way that causes you irreparable harm, you should sue me. If I didn’t screw up, I can fight the case. It’s no different that suing a doctor, accountant or any other professional that makes a mistake.
So we will get involved in suing other attorneys when they have been negligent and we think that we can prove you have suffered a financial harm you would not have had if they didn’t screw up.
A recent caller had me really hoping that I could help her. She went to a lawyer for a pre-nup and even though she was only 23 at the time, he suggested that it was a good idea because she had inherited a few hundred thousand dollars. Now he could have told her to just keep the money in a separate account and she would have been protected. Beyond that money, she and her fiancé had practically nothing to speak of.
But the screw-up wasn’t just convincing her that she definitely needed the pre-nup, he also wrote in a clause that bars her from receiving maintenance (alimony).
Well it turns out that her husband went on to a great career in business making almost seven figures and she potentially could be owed thousands every month in payments. But the pre-nup for some reason says that she gets nothing.
We’d love to sue this lawyer for his mistake, but there is one problem. The error took place 11 years ago. There is a law in Illinois that says you can sue an attorney for legal malpractice within two years of when you knew or should have known malpractice might have occurred, but no more than six years from when it happened. This is also known as the statute of limitations. It’s completely unfair because this woman had no reason to even think about the pre-nup until she caught her husband cheating on her. But when she did it was too late as more than six years had passed since the mistake. This is called a statute of repose.
The original law firm could come out and admit they made a mistake, but it wouldn’t matter. Laws are written by our legislature which is run by many attorneys. So of course some laws exist that favor attorneys and this is one of them. It’s very unfair in my opinion because it prevents one of the main functions of a legal malpractice lawsuit which is to prevent the harm from happening to someone else.
Bottom line for you is that if you ever think your attorney made a mistake you should act fast and figure out your options. If you wait too long it will bar your rights forever. And in some cases the simple passage of time will do that to you. If you need help you can contact us online or by calling us at 312-346-5320 or 800-517-1614.