Malpractice claims on the rise in the US

July 4, 2013 The number of malpractice claims against law firms is on the rise, along with the number of multi-million dollar payouts, according to a new study.

Insurance broker Ames & Gough surveyed seven leading professional liability insurers - which insure more than 80 per cent of the top 250 US law firms. Five of the seven insurers said that their company has more than 21 claims of $50 million, and another reported that it has more than 11 such claims. Six out of seven insurers reported that the number of claims of $50 million or more was larger in 2012 than in 2011.

“There’s no question that the number of large legal malpractice claims is increasing,” said Eileen Garczynski, partner and senior vice president of Ames & Gough.

The report suggests that the increase in large claims derives from the growing size and complexity of the deals handled (or mishandled) by lawyers, as well as conflict issues arising from mergers and lateral hires. And the increase in the sheer numbers stems, in part, from the recession, with failed transactions and litigation and a range of other economic pressures prompting clients to take action against their legal counsel.

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