Century Law Group, LLP Century Law Group, llp

No dearth of liability challenges for California attorneys

“When deals go bad,” stresses a recent Insurance Journal article spotlighting legal malpractice concerns for law firms, “clients start looking to their lawyers.”

And when those clients perceive that things are turning especially negative, it’s not stepped-up legal counsel that they’re usually looking for. Rather, it’s a sizable check from their retained attorneys’ malpractice insurer.

A key point culled from survey findings from a study annually undertaken on legal malpractice trends and developments is unquestionably this: Legions of law firms in California and nationally might want to take a hard look at the amount of coverage they carry to cover against malpractice risk – and then perhaps double it.

That is an implied tip passed along by Eileen Garczynski, a top-tier principal with insurance broker Ames & Gough, which authors the above-cited survey each year. Garczynski says that there is an underscored need “for law firms to give careful consideration to the professional insurance limits they purchase.”

The Ames & Gough findings relative to 2017 that were derived from the responses of nine insurers offering liability insurance to lawyers clearly indicate that there are mine fields aplenty to challenge attorneys on the receiving end of clients’ wrath. Malpractice claims are often filed for any number of reasons. Those range from business deals and real estate ventures imploding to matters turning sour in estate administration representation or to security breaches occurring owing to perceived glitches in a law firm’s handling of client data.

Five of nine carriers responding to Ames & Gough stated that they paid out $50 million or more on at least one legal malpractice claim in 2017.

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