We recently told you about the continuing good news concerning the numbers of medical malpractice actions in Pennsylvania. The news with respect to legal malpractice actions is not so good. According to a survey of legal malpractice insurers performed by insurance broker Ames & Gough, the number of claims against lawyers in 2011 is up significantly from 2010. According to the survey, legal malpractice claims were up anywhere from 6 to 20 percent. The largest number of claims occur in three practice areas: real estate, corporate and securities, and trusts and estates, and conflict of interest was the largest cause of malpractice claims. Malpractice avoidance has never been more important.
According to The Insurance Journal, Eileen Garczynski, a vice president at Ames & Gough, said, “As law firm clients see their financial circumstances worsen, they’re more likely to seek redress from their advisers. If lawyers representing a client are not careful during the initial representation, they may well become targets for a malpractice claim when the client’s financials spiral downward.” The articles on this rise suggest that disappointed clients in the real estate sector are a major driver of this trend. This highlights the importance of managing client expectations in professional liability avoidance.