As most practicing attorneys working for smaller law firms all know, it is quite important to secure small law firm attorney liability insurance as it is a critical element to both your practice and your professional reputation. Lawyers who do not carry sufficient malpractice coverage are setting themselves up to fail because, by not having attorney liability insurance you have limited the access you could’ve had to more clients. Without a policy in place many referral services won’t refer cases to you, simply because they aren’t willing to take the risk.
In most cases a request for proposal for legal services also requires that the attorney in question be able to provide proof of coverage. Law firms and attorneys who retain lawyers for per diem or contract work will also require that some form of malpractice coverage is current and up to date.
Just the threat of a malpractice claim is cause for concern
Because there has been an alarming increase in the frequency of claims in recent years, most attorneys have sufficient malpractice insurance. While many of the claims being filed often lack merit, they can absorb a lot of time and be expensive to defend against.
Remember that it only takes one viable claim to have a negative financial impact on any uninsured lawyer, and first and foremost, it’s your responsibility to always protect your clients. Never leave your clients unprotected in situations where your negligence may result in damaging their case in any way. This often leads to claims of malpractice.
Another thing to consider is that malpractice claims sometimes seem to come out of nowhere and a single claim can wipe out years of work spent building your successful practice and the results could cost you most or all of your personal assets as well. Even the best lawyers get sued for legal malpractice. Beware of clients who have a checkered past, having fired their previous lawyer, or are known for having negative feelings about the legal system in general.
You may also want to think twice about neglecting a client because you feel that the case isn’t really worth your time, plus you can cite having larger, pending matters. You may never have a need to use your small law firm attorney liability insurance policy, but it is vital to have this important coverage at all times.