ABA releases data study analyzing trends in legal malpractice claims

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability has issued its latest in a series of quadrennial studies of the U.S. and Canadian legal malpractice claim trends.

First released in 1985, the newest "Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims: 2016-2019" continues the ABA's effort of tracking legal malpractice claims as reported by participating carriers for 35 years. This one-of-a-kind data analysis provides attorneys and insurance industry professionals an in-depth look at both current trends as well as comparisons to historical data collected from the participating legal malpractice insurance carriers.

Data included was voluntarily provided to the ABA by eight commercial legal malpractice insurance carriers and 11 insurance-company members of the National Association of Bar Related Insurance Companies, three of which are Canadian. The book examines the following categories of carrier data: Number of Claims by Area of Law; Number of Claims by Number of Attorneys in Firm; Number of Claims by Type of Activity; Number of Claims by Disposition of Claim; Number of Claims by Type of Alleged Error; Number of Claims by Expense Paid; Number of Claims by Indemnity Dollars Paid to Claimant; Total Dollars Paid (Defense and Indemnity/Settlements); Time Interval from Error to Closing of File; Time Interval from Opening of File to Closing of File.

In a number of these categories, the relative experiences of U.S. and Canadian carriers are compared. Also, the "Profile" provides observations and insights from industry professionals and practitioners reflecting on the results of the data survey and their own experiences.

The study found that claims arising from settlement activities and claims arising from immigration matters saw substantial increases. Notably, the percentage of claims

"Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims: 2016-2019" costs $119.99 ($95.99 for ABA members) and can be ordered online at shopaba.org or by calling 800-285-2221.