Determining why legal malpractice claims occur and how they are resolved can provide an invaluable roadmap to practitioners and insurers. One of the best tools for identifying trends in legal malpractice law is the ABA Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims, released every four years by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability, of which Shari Klevens is the Chair.
The newest edition of the study, released a few months ago covers statistics from 2012 to 2015, and provides some lessons and tips for looking forward to the year ahead. One significant trend is that defending legal malpractice cases is becoming more and more expensive. Thus, fewer and fewer claims are resolved without any indemnity payment to the claimant. Even for claims with little merit, the “nuisance” cost of settling those claims is growing. In addition, the ABA Profile reflects an increase in the severity of claims or the amount of loss paid by insurers in connection with legal malpractice claims. This is a sobering data point for most attorneys and insurers. Even though attorneys overall are getting better at risk management and claim prevention, claims are becoming more expensive to settle, try, and defend.
In 2017, this data will continue to shape how law firms and other professionals respond to the pressing issues of the day, many of which may involve matters of first impression. As thought leaders in the industry, we publish on these topics regularly, including the following:
- bi-weekly professional liability articles in the Daily Report (Georgia),
- weekly professional liability articles in The Recorder (California),
- bi-weekly professional liability articles in the Daily Journal (California),
- periodic professional liability articles in legal industry papers in Florida, Colorado and Texas.