New Jersey’s affidavit-of-merit statute applies to suits against law firms for malpractice, not just individual lawyers, an appeals court held Monday in a case of first impression.

The judges, in Shamrock Lacrosse Inc. v. Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers, A-5730-08, rejected the argument that a firm cannot be a “licensed person” within the statute’s meaning.

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