Failure to Know and Apply the Law

Sears Crawford LLP > Failure to Know and Apply the Law


If you feel that your previous attorney failed to know and apply the law that was applicable to your case and you wish to pursue legal malpractice claims, you should have a Board-Certified lawyer in your corner.

When an attorney agrees to represent a client, they are expected to know the law and apply the law properly. Unfortunately, many clients hire an attorney without researching their qualifications or, more importantly, their legal practice area of expertise. This overlook can lead to an attorney’s inability to know the law or the proper legal procedure to handle your case well – as a result, you may suffer damages on behalf of your attorney’s incompetence.

This incompetence is referred to as a “Failure to Know and Apply the Law.” At Sears Crawford, we sue lawyers that cause harm to their clients due to their inability to apply and know the law. If you believe your attorney is guilty of this type of attorney negligence, contact Ross Sears of Sears Crawford at (713) 223-3333 to discuss whether you have grounds for a legal malpractice lawsuit.

What does “Failure to Know and Apply” the law mean?

Failure to know or apply the law occurs when an attorney attempts to take on a case outside of their field of expertise. Although some attorneys may not see this as a “big deal,” this decision by the attorney can have catastrophic results for the client, particularly if their lack of expertise and knowledge results in the loss of the client’s case and the matter may be further compacted by the attorney’s failure to carry malpractice insurance (a topic of GREAT importance to clients). This selfish decision by an attorney to take a case they are not qualified to handle can result in a serious type of legal malpractice.

Every attorney owes a fiduciary duty to their clients where they are required by law to act according to a specific standard of care protecting the best interest of the client at all times – and this includes taking cases within their specific legal practice area.

When an attorney agrees to take or handle a case in an unfamiliar field, they do not have the expertise or knowledge available to handle the client’s case to the best of their ability, thus, putting the client’s case at risk. This decision made by the attorney can result in harm to the client’s case which can come in the form of financial damages. If this occurs within your case, you have the right to hold your former attorney accountable.

Continue reading: What is legal malpractice?

How to prove your attorney was negligent

As we mentioned earlier, failure to know or apply the law is an example of attorney negligence.

Attorney negligence is broadly defined as an attorney failing to do something that a reasonable and prudent attorney would have done under the same or similar circumstances – for example, a reasonable and prudent attorney would not agree to a case in a field they have little to no knowledge of.

In order to prove that your attorney was negligent, you must establish the following:

1. You and your former attorney had an attorney-client relationship:

This is typically shown in the form of a written or verbal agreement/contract.

2. Your former attorney did not provide you with reasonable care:

They did not know the law and therefore were not able to apply the law properly in your case.

3. That negligence caused you damages or harmed your case.

If you can prove that the outcome of your case could have been different if your attorney had had the proper knowledge of the law/applied it correctly, you may be entitled to financial compensation.


Always puts your interests first

Is available to take your calls

Provides professionalism

Provides honesty & loyalty

Provides a high standard of ethics

Carries malpractice insurance

Why hiring a Board-Certified lawyer is crucial to your case

As a client, when you hire a lawyer to take on your case, you are putting the outcome of your case into the lawyer’s hands. You trust – based on their fiduciary duty – that they have the capability to carry out the legal procedures properly to work towards the best possible outcome for you. However, if an attorney does not know the law, they do not have the ability to apply the law properly which will likely result in an unfavorable outcome – and you will suffer the damages. This is why hiring a Board Certified attorney is crucial to the success of your case.

If an attorney is Board Certified, that means they have surpassed rigorous standards to be deemed as an attorney who specializes in that field of law. For example, a Board Certified Legal Malpractice Lawyer, such as Ross Sears of Sears Crawford, will have more extensive knowledge and expertise in the area of legal malpractice than just a licensed attorney. Why settle for just any attorney when you can hire an expert?

No matter what charges you might be facing, you want to hire the right attorney that you can trust will obtain the best possible outcome for you. Ross Sears can be that attorney for you.

Ross Sears II: Board-Certified and qualified to handle your legal malpractice case

When you hire an attorney, it is required that they know the laws in your case’s specific field and have the ability to apply them in court. If not, you could sue them for financial compensation.
If you believe that your former attorney may have committed legal malpractice in the form of “failure to know or apply” the law, consult a legal malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

We understand that the thought of dealing with yet another lawyer can sound exhausting – but believe us when we say, you do not want to go up against an attorney in court alone. Hiring the right legal malpractice attorney can be the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful outcome.

Ross Sears II of Sears Crawford has approximately 30 years of experience holding other attorneys accountable for failing to know the law and apply the law. Because he is Board Certified in Personal Injury Law, which includes legal malpractice, he has the experience and expertise necessary to handle your case with care. At Sears Crawford, we always put the best interest of the client FIRST. It’s our job.

If you believe that your former attorney failed to know and apply the law in your case, call Sears Crawford at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Need help with any kind of Legal Malpractice issues? Contact us now.