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Legal malpractice claim frequency steady in 2016

Legal malpractice claim frequency steady in 2016

The frequency of legal malpractice claims remained constant in 2016, says a survey issued by specialty brokerage Ames & Gough on Wednesday.

Of the nine insurers surveyed in its latest survey, six indicated the number of claims filed in 2016 was similar to that in 2015, two said the frequency was lower than in 2015 and one indicated it was higher, according to the McLean, Virginia-based brokerage.

Among other survey results, severity remained high, with all nine insurers reporting claims with reserves of more than $500,000 and five reporting 21 or more claims apiece with reserves of $500,000 or greater.

The most frequently alleged malpractice error was conflict of interest, while the survey also found lateral hiring from other firms and firm mergers increased the risk of conflicts.

“As the legal landscape changes through mergers, acquisitions and lateral hiring, firms run the risk of increased conflicts,” Ames & Gough Senior Vice President Eileen Garczynski said in a statement. “Too often, conflicts are an afterthought when attorneys move from firm to firm; and even when conflicts surface they are often ignored or overlooked. And that’s when they become costly.” 

In last year’s survey, legal malpractice claims increased in both frequency and severity. 



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