Changing Seasons

The general public commonly believes that attorneys rarely get sued.  By one estimate 1 in 20 private practice attorneys face a legal malpractice claim each year.  Other estimates are that a private practice attorney can face 3 malpractice claims during their careers.   The attorney that goes through their entire career without a claim is a vanishing breed. 

We are often asked which area of practice has the highest premium.  No surprise is that the highest premiums paid are for firms that practice in the areas with the highest frequency of claims.  Interestingly enough this has shifted throughout the years.

In the 2003 AGA study these were the top 5 malpractice claim areas:

1.       Personal Injury—Plaintiff

2.       Real Estate

3.       Personal Injury—Defense

4.       Family Law

5.       Estate, Trust, and Probate

By 2017 the claims had shifted:

1.       Business Transactions

2.       Corporate and Securities

3.       Commercial Real Estate

4.       Estates, Trust and Probate

5.       Cyber-Related Claims

As goes the claims, so does the difficulty of obtaining attorney malpractice insurance for certain practice areas.  When claims go up the number of insurers willing to write certain areas of practice go down.  Law firms can find themselves being non-renewed just because they practice the wrong type of law at the wrong time, even if they have never had a claim.  And as the pool of attorney malpractice insurers declines for certain practice areas as you would expect the cost of insurance goes up.

One rising area of concern are cyber related claims.  Attorney malpractice policies only partially cover the exposure of cyber claims.  As the frequency of cyber claims rise more firms will find no insurance coverage for certain claims without having purchased cyber insurance.

Lee Norcross 
Contact Me Today
Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU

Managing Director, CEO

(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080 
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