Continuing Increase in Large Legal Malpractice Claims

/ 15.Jul, 2014
Insurance broker Ames & Gough has released its fourth annual survey of lawyers’ professional liability claims.  The insurance companies reported the number of claims has leveled off, but there continues to be a surge in large claims.  Four insurers reported they paid, or participated in paying, on a claim worth $100 million or more, and two other companies reported payments between $50 million and $100 million.  Six of the eight insurers reported an increase in claims with reserves of $500,000 or more.  Interestingly, the survey reports six of the eight insurers cited conflicts as the leading cause of malpractice claims. Among the new trends noted by Ames & Gough:
Half the insurers surveyed have had a Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance claim arising from a cyber or network security event. Of the four insurers with these claims, three traced the breach to a lost or stolen laptop. For the other, a combination of employee error, hacker and disgruntled employee led to a network security breach claim.
As we have previously written, legal malpractice claims based on technology issues are here, and they will continue to rise with the pace of technological advances.  Legal malpractice avoidance best practices requires an understanding of these issues. –Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire