For the first time since 1985, when the American Bar Association (ABA) first began tracking legal malpractice claims, real estate litigation ranked as the area of law most affected by malpractice claims. The study includes over 50,000 claims filed between 2008-2011, which was the highest number of claims ever reported. Real estate related claims have also been on the rise in past studies, though personal injury has historically generated the highest number of legal malpractice claims.
The Number One Legal Activity That Causes Real Estate Litigation
Given what happened with the real estate markets between 2008 and 2011, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that real estate malpractice took the spotlight. Record numbers of people losing their homes in foreclosure and the sheer number of people involved in real estate transactions are thought to have bumped real estate law to the top.
The data used in the study was collected from some of the largest legal malpractice insurers in the United States and Canada. All the data was self-reported. While the results aren’t definitive, it does provide insight about the issues that clients (and their lawyers) struggle with. For example, the study reaffirmed that the filing and transmittal of documents is the number one legal activity affected by malpractice claims. Advice moved up the list to number two. Failure to file a document-no deadline fell from its previous spot at number two down to the bottom third percentile of all malpractice claims.
While failure to file documents timely has long been the leading example of malpractice, changes in legal technology such as sophisticated calendaring and scheduling software is thought to be responsible for the dramatic reduction in the number of filing errors.
Various commenter have noted that it’s not only real estate attorneys who have been subject to increased malpractice claims. The entire real estate industry, including brokers, agents, and title companies have also experienced a rise in professional malpractice claims.
It’s important to note that malpractice claims do not always result in lawsuits, and many malpractice lawsuits are not successful. While you may feel that an adverse result in your legal matter was caused by your lawyer’s malpractice, it’s not always easy to prove.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of legal malpractice, it’s important to contact an attorney who has experience dealing with these types of cases quickly. For many cases in California, you have to file within one year of discovering the wrongful act or omission of your lawyer.
The experienced legal malpractice attorneys at Makarem & Associates are here to help you. We will analyze the facts of your case, advise you as to the best course of action, and aggressively work to recover damages for the injuries caused by your lawyer’s malpractice. Contact one of our California legal malpractice lawyers today by email [email protected] or phone 310.312.0299 to discuss your case.