Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to perform according to the proscribed standards and codes of ethical and professional conduct. Not getting the expected outcome in a case is not enough to warrant a malpractice claim: attorneys must have been negligent, in breach of a contract, or otherwise in violation of the American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct. In order to win a legal malpractice case against an attorney, it must be shown that a typical lawyer would have prevailed in your case.
For legal malpractice claims based on negligence, you need to prove the following four elements:
1. The lawyer owed a duty to provide competent and skillful representation;
2. The lawyer breached the duty by acting carelessly or by making a mistake;
3. The lawyer's breach caused an injury or harm; and
4. The harm caused a financial loss.