Be Smart: Legal Malpractice is Not Limited to Bad Lawyers
Remember O.J.’s trial in 1994? Do you also remember his lawyers? He hired several of the best, including Johnny Cochran (now deceased), F. Lee Bailey, and Barry Scheck. Unfortunately, legal malpractice is not limited to bad lawyers. Even excellent lawyers sometimes make mistakes. Lee Long served six years after a New York jury convicted him of rape. Mr. Long maintained his innocence and was ultimately freed as a result of the work of the Queens Legal Aid Society. Long retained Barry Scheck, O.J. Simpson’s former lawyer, and Scheck’s firm to represent him in a wrongful imprisonment suit against the state of New York. Scheck filed suit in 2002; however, the trial court dismissed the case claiming the suit was filed too late. Two different appellate courts affirmed the dismissal. Lee then sued his attorney Scheck for legal malpractice. Attorney Scheck, co-founder of a legal clinic that pioneered the use of DNA technology to help free innocent prisoners, agreed to pay $900,000 to a man wrongly convicted of rape. Ironic, isn’t it?