During the 45 years Wilson Elser has led in the defense of attorneys against allegations of legal malpractice, related claims and disciplinary proceedings have undergone explosive growth. Unremitting financial pressures further exaggerate this trend, with clients especially sensitive to unproductive litigation and frustrated by adverse outcomes.

Beyond the courtroom, our team represents attorneys in numerous disciplinary proceedings before local grievance committees, disciplinary committees and licensing boards as well as regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Our national team comprises more than 50 attorneys, each contributing considerable related experience along with a keen understanding of the underlying matters at the heart of malpractice claims. Such claims can range from the most basic services to the most sophisticated, including complex securities transactions, environmental claims, intellectual property disputes and more.

Our defense of an attorney begins with an immediate and comprehensive assessment of both the underlying matter and the malpractice claim, with a focus on early dismissal through pre-answer dispositive motions. While these pre-answer motions are frequently successful, we simultaneously formulate early resolution strategies such as ADR, consistent with our clients’ objectives.

Suits initiated by attorneys to collect fees can be especially perilous, as they frequently result in prompt counterclaims for malpractice. To avoid fruitless litigation, we often seek early “global” resolution by informally “mediating” the fee claim through a review of the quality of service provided, the results obtained and the total fees outstanding. The purpose of this aggressive “all-in” approach is early resolution and avoidance of fruitless litigation.

Of course, the best way to counter legal malpractice claims is to prevent their occurrence. Experience helps us recognize where an attorney’s practice can be modified to reduce the risk of professional liability claims. In certain instances, our attorneys serve as general counsel to firms in addressing ethical or practice-related questions that arise when representing clients. In fact, leading legal malpractice insurers employ us to furnish risk management services at firms they insure. We also counsel and are in high demand to lecture on the topic of professional liability exposures and risk management. In addition, our attorneys address the ever-increasing exposure faced by the legal profession as members of various bar association committees.