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Survey: Law firms experiencing increased number of professional liability claims

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According to a recent survey conducted by Virginia-based brokerage firm Ames & Gough, law firms have experienced an increased number of professional liability claims recently.

The broker's survey reveals that the higher number of claims is a result of the effects of the recent recession as well as the continued struggles of the real estate market.

"As law firms' clients continue to encounter financial difficulties, and the impact on their business becomes more pronounced, they are more inclined to seek redress from their advisers," according to the survey. "In this regard, if the lawyers representing a client are not careful during the initial representation, they might well become targets for a malpractice claim as the client's financial situation worsens."

The report found that, of the claims involving professional liability filed against law firms, the majority are regarding real estate, corporate and securities and trusts and estates. Regarding malpractice claims, the majority involve conflict of interest.

Of those responding to the broker's survey, six insurers are represented, which account for 75 percent of midsize to large firms in the U.S. These companies relay that many insurers are now receiving payouts of $50 million or more for cases involving professional liability. 

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