Malpractice Concerns and Attorney Liability Insurance

As a practicing attorney, you know all too well how important it is to secure professional liability insurance (or LPL), as it is a critical element to your practice and your professional reputation. There is much concern about lawyers who do not carry sufficient malpractice coverage. Not having attorney liability insurance will often mean that some referral services won’t send you cases. Many times, an RFP (request for proposal) for legal services also requires coverage. Even law firms and attorneys who retain lawyers for per diem or contract work will require some amount of malpractice coverage.

The threat of a malpractice claim is a cause of concern

There has been an alarming increase in the frequency of claims in recent years. This concerns every practicing attorney because, even though many of those claims lack merit, they can be expensive to defend. And it only takes one viable claim to have a devastating financial effect on an uninsured lawyer. As a lawyer, it is your responsibility to always protect your clients, and not leave your clients unprotected in situations where your negligence may have damaged their case in some way.

Another important consideration is that malpractice claims can be difficult to foresee, and can be costly whether malpractice can be proven or not. A single claim can wipe out years of work spent in building a successful practice, as well as most or all of your personal assets as well.

Even really good lawyers may get sued for legal malpractice. Beware of clients who may have fired their previous counsel, been turned down by other lawyers, or who have a beef with the legal system in general. You should also think twice about neglecting a client, simply because it is a small case, and you have other, larger pending matters. You may never have to use your attorney liability insurance policy, but it is extremely risky not to have this important coverage.


photo credit: Joe Gratz cc