Legal malpractice insurers may be settling sooner to avoid escalating costs, according to a recent by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability.
This is one of the takeaways from "Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims 2012-2015," an ABA report that tracks number of claims by practice area, firm size, outcome, type of alleged error, and the time elapsing between the alleged error and closing of the claim, among other data.
According to a story in the ABA Journal, the study "found an increase in claims being closed within six months of the incident that gave rise to the claim."
The Wyoming Supreme Court publicly censured a Cheyenne lawyer who charged a client $30,000 in finance charges on an unpaid bill of $41,000, ABA Journal reports.
According to Wyoming State Bar's Board of Professional Responsibility, the attorney violated ethics rules barring unreasonable fees and requiring clear communication of fees at the beginning of a representation by charging 1.5 percent per month on an unpaid bill in an employment case.
A Michigan State Bar task force is recommending disclosure "to the public whether a Michigan lawyer in private practice carries malpractice insurance."
The State Bar of Michigan's 21st Century Task Force released a report containing recommendations to take challenges facing the legal profession because "the long term health of our profession is at stake."
One area of focus for the task force was a "dysfunctional legal marketplace" in which "even people who can afford legal services are often afraid of the cost and confused about whether they need legal help, what kind of legal help they might need, and how to find it," the task force reported. "We are falling further behind in our goal of access to justice for all."
Advocating for "transparent, accessible, and user friendly Internet access to reliable legal information that encourages confidence," the task force set forth a plan that would include disclosure of whether Michigan lawyers' malpractice insurance status, which is currently information gathered by the State Bar but not made accessible to the public.
Action on this proposal and others in the task force report require approval of the State Bar's Representative Assembly and possibly the Michigan Supreme Court.
Professionals in Michigan -- including doctors and lawyers -- are not required to carry malpractice insurance.
Individuals and businesses harmed by mistakes by lawyers and doctors in Michigan are often shocked to learn that the professionals they hired do not have insurance available to provide compensation for their errors.
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Tom Howlett, a Michigan attorney and partner at The Googasian Firm, writes this blog about the legal profession, lawyers in the news and developments in legal malpractice law.