The Allegheny County Bar Association Insurance Program

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Three Ways to Keep Your Legal Malpractice Costs Down


The cost of defending a malpractice claim can be enormous, and the number of claims costing more than $100,000 to defend is rising, according to data released by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability in October 2016. Experts expect this trend to continue and likely accelerate.

But law firms can take a few practical steps to minimize the high costs of defending a malpractice claim, before and after a claim is made:

Review Your LPL Coverage

Lawyers Professional Liability (LPL) insurance policies usually have a single limit of liability for both defense and indemnity, meaning that high defense costs could diminish and even exhaust the coverage available to pay settlements and judgments. Your firm should carefully consider whether the limits of liability in their LPL policy are sufficient, both in terms of their exposure to malpractice claims and also taking into account that potential defense costs will reduce those limits.

Make an Informed Decision Regarding Defense Counsel

Should a claim be made, it is important to choose the right defense counsel – preferably one that has substantial experience defending lawyers’ professional liability claims. Also, the same defense counsel may not be the best choice for every claim, and it is important to choose an attorney who has the experience and expertise to litigate the particular case in the most efficient and cost–effective manner possible.

Seek an Early Resolution, if Possible

While good defense lawyers are not afraid to take a case to trial and a lawyer who is afraid to litigate is almost never a good choice to defend a malpractice claim, it can be in the best interest of the firm to settle the claim on reasonable terms, preferably before a lawsuit is even filed. This will spare the firm the expense of litigation and also the negative publicity that often comes from the knowledge that a legal malpractice suit has been filed against it.

If you would like more information about how your firm can avoid costly malpractice claims, contact USI Affinity today. ACBA members, reach Michelle Logan at 412-851-5209 or

Allegheny County Bar Foundation Lawyer Referral Service