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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

The last forty years have seen a marked rise in legal malpractice lawsuits. Recent numbers show that no abatement is in sight; instead the number of large legal malpractice claims is steadily increasing. Although lawyers have a personal interest in limiting liability, they also have a professional one in protecting clients from harm arising due to malpractice. But how can the legal profession curtail and manage malpractice liability while also providing relief to injured clients? Applying existing tort scholarship on no-fault alternative systems to professional legal services, this Article argues that no-fault may be a viable option in many common malpractice circumstances, particularly those involving true mistake and inevitability. In particular, I examine the infrastructure already in existence in current state bar systems of “lawyers’ funds for client protection” as a possible nesting ground for a more expansive and innovative alternative to traditional malpractice suits. The paper concludes that while expanded no-fault coverage is a feasible alternative to current practices in certain areas, increased fact-finding is needed to support the political will for reform.

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