Legal Question in Legal Malpractice in California

Lawyers are not allowed to argue small claims cases.

What happens when the defendant is a Lawyer and the plaintiff suffered legal malpractice?

This seems like a paradox. The defendant must appear and represent himself, but lawyers are not allowed... or if he is allowed to rep himself as the defendant, how is this fair to the lay plaintiff?

Asked on 3/11/11, 2:51 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Why would you litigate a legal malpractice case in small claims court?? The defendant lawyer is allowed to represent himself. Your expert witness (without whom you will lose) must also be a lawyer, and he or she is permitted to be a witness. But the expert's fee will eat up any recovery.

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Answered on 3/11/11, 3:47 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Nobody said life or law is fair. Small claims is limited to $7500 max, so the case must not have much value to you. Lawyers may not 'represent a client' there. They can represent themselves, just like you can.

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Answered on 3/11/11, 3:56 pm
Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

At the very least, if you're in small claims court, you can stipulate to a judge instead of a lawyer acting as a judge. Don't forget, you have to prove you more likely than not would have won the case hadn't the lawyer messed up, before you can get an award of damages from the lawyer. So make sure that you produce appropriate and relevant evidence. You can have an attorney help you prepare your small claims case.

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Answered on 3/11/11, 4:47 pm

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