From clear communication to proper documentation, there are many ways you can prevent malpractice claims and subsequent loss. Does your firm follow these loss prevention tips?
- Avoid Conflicts of Interest
Allegations of conflict of interest drive both frequency and severity. Watch carefully for conflicts arising from dealings with former or current clients and avoid those arising from your own interests in a client’s business.
- Properly Screen Potential Clients
Ever heard a fellow attorney say “I just knew that client would be trouble.”? Never ignore your gut feelings about a prospective client and always follow your firm’s client screening questionnaire before beginning a partnership.
- Communicate Clearly
Developing a rapport with clients can reduce the likelihood of a simple error becoming a claim for malpractice. By focusing on the non-technical aspects of the practice of law, you can reduce the risk of malpractice claims.
- Don’t Ignore Third Party Risk
Third parties, both individual and corporate, typically file malpractice claims in the form of malicious prosecution or abuse of process. Many of these actions can be avoided if the attorney conducts an adequate investigation before naming parties in a suit.
- Avoid Needless Fee Disputes
From the start, your clients should understand the hourly rates they will be charged, potential expenses that will be passed on to them and the billing schedule. If you have to sue for fees, there is always a substantial risk of a counter claim for malpractice.
Despite how careful you are, you and your firm can still have a claim filed against you. Reduce your risk by taking advantage of loss prevention opportunities provided by the New York City Bar Association, and always have Professional Liability Insurance. This insurance helps cover the cost of certain legal fees, judgments/settlements that you may face as a result of claims and litigation brought against you.