Which Lawyers Face the Most Legal Malpractice Claims?
Unfortunately, clients sometimes have unrealistic expectations of their lawyers. Many lawyers face malpractice claims that are simply unwarranted by the actual circumstances. Even attorneys who offer highly competent legal representation could face a malpractice claim simply because their client did not like the situation that they were facing.
It is notable that not all lawyers face malpractice claims at the same rate. Certain areas of law have been determined to be at a “high risk of malpractice claims”. The American Bar Association (ABA) has published comprehensive legal malpractice claims data that was collected by insurance companies. Here, our West Palm Beach legal malpractice defense lawyers provide an overview of the practice areas that face the highest risk of malpractice claims.
The Five Areas of Law Where Malpractice Claims are the Most Common
- Real Estate: 20.3 percent
Though it may be surprising, the single leading category of legal malpractice claims comes from real estate law cases. In a three-year period reviewed by the ABA, 20.3 percent of all legal malpractice claims were related to real estate. To put that number in perspective, there were 10,722 malpractice claims filed against real estate lawyers nationwide during this period.
- Personal Injury Law: 15.6 percent
Personal injury claims are another high-risk area of law for malpractice. These lawyers are sometimes forced to deal with clients who simply have unrealistic expectations regarding their case. For personal injury attorneys, managing client expectations is especially important. This can help to reduce the risk of malpractice.
- Family Law: 12.1 percent
There are probably no disputes that are more sensitive than those involving family issues. Approximately twelve percent of all legal malpractice claims are filed in relation to family law cases. Similar to personal injury lawyers, family law attorneys must be very careful when managing client expectations.
- Estate Planning, Trusts, and Probate: 10.7 percent
The ABA reports that there were 5,652 malpractice claims filed against estate planning lawyers over the relevant three-year period. These claims were filed for a wide range of different reasons. Though, notably, more than half of estate planning malpractice claims involved an alleged ‘substantive error’ committed by the legal professional.
- Debt collection and Bankruptcy law: 9.2 percent
Finally, attorneys who practice in debt collection and bankruptcy law should also be aware that they work in an area of law that has a heightened risk of malpractice claims. This category includes both malpractice claims filed by creditors against debt collection attorneys and claims filed by debtors against bankruptcy lawyers.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Malpractice Defense Attorneys
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we are proud to be the attorneys’ attorneys. If you are facing a legal malpractice claim from a former client, our law firm is prepared to help. You need strong, effective legal representation on your side. With an office in West Palm Beach and an office in Miami, we are well-positioned to serve communities all around South Florida. For a confidential initial consultation, please contact us today.