A legal malpractice claim against you is one of the top things that could put your license in jeopardy — so it’s critically important to understand what is likely to bring that kind of trouble to your doorstep.
What are the common causes of legal malpractice claims?
Conflicts of interest are the primary source of issues
According to the leading professional liability insurers for attorneys, one of the primary problems that brings malpractice claims is either a real or perceived conflict of interest on the attorney’s part.
Seven out of nine of the insurers cited conflict of interest as either their first or second source of liability claims in 2018. Conflicts of interest are considered a breach of an attorney’s duty of loyalty to the client — which is taken very seriously by everyone involved.
Inadequate knowledge and representation are another
This is particularly true in areas involving business transactions, securities law and corporate law. The business world has become increasingly complex, and an attorney who takes on a task outside of his or her range of experience is likely playing with fire. Trust and estate law are also prone to a lot of complaints from clients. It’s wise for attorneys working in these areas to remember that they are dealing with highly personal matters — which means that their clients and others involved may be quicker to file a complaint or claim malpractice than others.
Before you accept a client, it’s important to also make sure that you have the amount of time necessary to dedicate to his or her case — and the right resources. And, as always, the longer you work in this area of law, the more possibility there is of conflicts of interest arising — so it pays to be doubly careful.
If you have been accused of legal malpractice, make no mistake: The accusation could put your license to practice law in danger. Protect yourself by seeking out legal advice of your own as soon as possible.