Articles in legal publications around the country during the last six months confirm what many lawyers already know—lawyers are increasingly the target of costly and damaging malpractice claims. Yet bad stories with bad endings and bad headlines rarely start as a verdict or settlement. Many times, these headlines-in-the-making start as billing disputes. Other times, a contract drafted by the firm is questioned or litigated. Or a bank represented by the firm fails. Increasingly, it is just an unhappy investor, the creditor of a failed business looking for a deep pocket or litigation that took an ugly turn. On occasion, it is an impaired attorney whose personal problems have become firm problems.
Of course, not every wrong means a legal malpractice claim and not every legal malpractice claim means a verdict or settlement. In fact, approximately two out of every three legal malpractice claims against lawyers are resolved without any payment by a lawyer.
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