According to an article in Insurance Journal “The number of legal malpractice claims resulting in larger multimillion-dollar payouts – as well as the dollar amounts involved – has surged in the past year, with at least two settlements exceeding $250 million.” This data was based on a study conducted by insurance broker Ames & Gough where 11 lawyers’ professional liability insurance companies were surveyed.
Ultimately, what malpractice claims come down to is client dissatisfaction. And while a malpractice suit can happen to anyone, the following four practice areas saw the highest number of claims:
A booming economy often creates new opportunities for businesses. Whether through acquisitions, mergers, or even the creation of companies, businessmen and women all over the country have been calling on their lawyers to help. But when deals fall through or problems arise, it isn’t uncommon for the client to file a malpractice claim against their representation whether warranted or not.
Commercial Real Estate
As businesses expand, so does their need for office space and commercial real estate holdings. According to the Insurance Journal article, issues that lead to the filing of malpractice claims typically include “errors in preparing a deed or mortgage/financing document; lease or loan guarantee language that doesn’t properly protect the client’s interests; creating conflicts, such as by answering questions from unrepresented parties at a closing, and errors involved in managing or maintaining adequate escrow fund balances.”
Estates and Trusts
The management of trusts and the practice of estate law is a hotbed for malpractice claims due in part to its sensitive nature. As is the case with any personal dealings involving money and family, there’s always a chance for emotions to get involved and malpractice claims to be filed.
While cyber security-related claims remain one of the most common legal malpractice claims, Eileen Garczynski, senior vice president and partner at Ames & Gough, says “law firms have been seeing pressure from clients to invest in the protection as a result of a heightened focus on cyber risk.” Understandably, clients want to ensure that their data is secure. Therefore, the best way to protect your practice from costly cyber threats is with cyber security insurance.
Protecting Your Firm
Even great lawyers sometimes face malpractice claims. When was the last time you thought about your professional liability insurance? Did you know that members of the State Bar of Georgia have access to professional liability insurance through the Private Insurance Exchange? To learn more about your LPL options, visit https://gabar.memberbenefits.com/lawyers-professional-liability/.