07
Jul2016

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Claim in Illinois?

Lawyers are supposed to act in the best interests of their clients. While the lawyer may offer legal advice, the client’s instructions should govern the lawyer’s actions. Ultimately, the client should be the final decision maker on all matters that concern the client. After representation ends, the client may determine that the lawyer did not act in a way that was consistent with their instruction. Furthermore, the client might discover this after parting ways with the lawyer. What is a client to do in such a situation?

Legal Malpractice Claims and the Statute of Limitations

Clients who were wronged by their lawyers have a limited amount of time to bring a legal malpractice claim against them. This window of opportunity to sue a lawyer is referred to as a statute of limitations. Under Illinois law, the statute of limitations for a legal malpractice claim is a period of two years beginning from the time that the legal malpractice was known by the injured client. See 735 ILCS 5/13-214.3.

A legal malpractice claim must be filed against your lawyer within this two-year window or else the court will not hear your case. In essence, your lawyer will have gotten away with whatever they did while you were their client. If you wait to file your claim, you may lose out on your opportunity to seek the justice you deserve. In addition to the two-year window, the statute of repose for filing a claim is capped at six years. This means that the client has a maximum of six years to bring the claim against their lawyer, regardless of when the malpractice was discovered.

For example, if you were subject to the wrongful actions of your lawyer in 2010, but did not learn about the legal malpractice until 2015, you must bring the claim before the six-year cap passes. Any discovery of legal malpractice that is learned after the six year mark will not be actionable.

Clients who discover their lawyer have done something in violation of the lawyer’s ethical and professional obligation to the client need to speak with a legal malpractice attorney. Because of the statues, it is best to do this as soon as possible. A legal malpractice lawyer will be able to evaluate your claim for wrongdoing and potential violations of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

When You Need a Legal Malpractice Lawyer

Clients who have a legal malpractice claim need to file their claim within the statute of limitations. Clients who have been wronged by their lawyer have two years from the date of the malpractice, or two years from the discovery of the malpractice. Regardless of when the malpractice is discovered, all claims must be brought within six years. We can help with your legal malpractice claims. Contact us today.