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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
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Legal Malpractice Claims Expected to Rise in 2009. One Big Factor: Attorneys Practicing Outside their Core Areas

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Experts predict that the current economic downturn will give rise to an increasing number of legal malpractice lawsuits. Historically, claims against lawyers escalate during economic downturns.

There are several different reasons for the increase in malpractice claims: (1) assets lose value; (2) deals go sideways; and (3) attorneys start practicing outside of their core competence. This last reason is perhaps the most interesting.

Lawyers feeling economic pressure are more likely to retain work they would otherwise refer out to someone with more specific knowledge. We see this with increasing frequency when it comes to personal injury claims.

Instead of referring personal injury claims to personal injury attorneys, business and real estate and family law attorneys are starting to handle these claims to prop up their own sagging practices. This leads to a host of problems.

While personal injury claims can see simple on their faces, they are laced with complexities and really only can be competently handled by experienced practioners. There are just too many "hidden" traps for the occassional practitioner.

The bottom line for clients and attorneys is very much the same: make sure that personal injury cases are handled by personal injury attorneys. It’s the best thing for the client and, in the long run, the best thing for the business or real estate or family law attorney who first speaks with the client.