Legal errors getting more costly over time

For a number of reasons, legal mistakes by attorneys are costing more as time goes on.

According to a relatively recent study, which is current through 2017, the number of legal malpractice claims across the country has remained stable or even declined in recent years, with many legal malpractice insurance companies reporting a consistent or a lower volume of claims.

However, at the same time, there seem to be more high-dollar claims, many of which are filed in the wake of big business deals that go south. As of 2017, many legal malpractice claims had an estimated value of around $500,000, while some ran to the tune of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to the report, the primary reason for malpractice claims pertain to alleged conflicts of interest. Residents of the Portland area expect their lawyers to be loyal to their interests and to work on their behalf. When a client discovers that their attorney had some sort of professional or other relationship with, say, a business competitor, it can call the work of that lawyer in to serious question.

While some Oregonians may intuitively think otherwise, legal malpractice claims rose with greater frequency in the world of transactional law as opposed to litigation. Particularly in the wake of a failed merger or acquisition or other big business deal, clients will often sue their lawyers for their lost revenue. Likewise, lawyers who set up trusts and estates, as well as those involved in commercial real estate transactions, are frequently on the receiving end of malpractice claims.

As this blog has mentioned, businesses in Oregon rely on their lawyers to handle their internal affairs and transactions properly. When attorneys fail to live up to the trust their clients place in them, then they can be held accountable for malpractice just like other professionals.

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