How has legal malpractice changed in recent years?

Legal malpractice is an area of great concern for attorneys. It is similar to any other professional malpractice where a professional may be sued if he or she does not do his or her job competently or at least competently in the eyes of the customer, client or patient. In legal malpractice, an attorney could be sued for not adequately representing a client, committing mistakes during legal representation or making an ethical violation. In the last 30 years, there have been many changes in this area.

The Bar Plan Foundation notes instances of legal malpractice are more common now than ever before. Typically, the most cases are filed against small firms, but this may be skewed by the fact that most firms are small and large firms only make up a small percentage of all firms in the country. 

The legal specialty that usually sees the most claims is personal injury prosecution. Personal injury defense only comes in third behind real estate. These areas are personal areas of law as opposed to areas such as business law that are not as personal in nature. This is likely what keeps these areas at the top of the list year after year.

The amount of money involved in these cases has risen significantly. Today, cases are often settled for millions of dollars. This high dollar amount was unheard of 30 years ago. 

Most cases are brought due to not meeting deadlines. Other common reasons for a malpractice claim include lack of legal knowledge, failure to respond to a calendar event and strategy errors. This information is intended to educate and is not legal advice.