Thursday, July 7, 2011

Law Firm Insurer Survey: Rising Malpractice Claims; Top Rated Cause -- Conflicts of Interest

Law firm insurance broker Ames & Gough just published the results of its 2011 survey on professional liability claims trends. Participants were: AXIS, Beazley, Berkley Select, CNA, Lexington, and Hartford.

The short summary -- "Law Firms Face Rising Number of Malpractice Claims," with more claims and higher payouts for successful claims:
  • “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,” noted Ames & Gough vice president, Eileen Garczynski. 
Five of the six participants ranked conflicts as a top cause of malpractice claims. The report notes:
  • "By virtue of this affirmative duty, failure to properly advise clients in connection with conflicts of interest may result in subsequent claims of legal malpractice. Conflict of interest cases can also be the most serious type of legal malpractice claim. That’s not only as a result of the profound violation of the duties owed to clients, which are often present in the cases, but also because of the negative impact that the claims generally have on the image of the legal profession."
Ames & Gough is making complimentary copies of the report available. To request a copy, email: with the subject line: "LPL Claims Survey."

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