Legal malpractice insurance is required in some jurisdictions. Many other states make malpractice insurance for attorneys optional, but it's still recommended, even for the most experienced professionals.
Small firms and solo practitioners have many options when it comes to buying legal malpractice insurance. So how do you buy the insurance plan that's right for you?
Where to begin
Your state and local bar associations are good places to start. They may be able to introduce you to various insurance providers, and can offer general information about malpractice insurance in your area.
Established local attorneys, especially those with similar practices as your own, can also point you in the right direction.
Factors to consider
As with other types of insurance, a wide range of factors affect which malpractice insurance plan is best for you, along with the cost of such coverage. Factors include:
- Your practice areas. Practice areas with higher rates of malpractice claims, such as plaintiff's personal injury law, often come with higher insurance premiums.
- Your disciplinary record. A clean record suggests you're less of a risk and can lead to lower premiums.
- Your jurisdiction. Different regions of the country, and even different regions within a state, can offer vastly different insurance rates, depending on the climate of malpractice litigation in your area.
Strategies for getting the best deal
An independent insurance broker can offer multiple options and price quotes, and can guide you through the application process if you don't want to do it alone. Professional legal colleagues may also offer advice about scoring the best insurance deals.
For attorneys who do legal work as a side job, some insurance companies offer discounted rates for part-time practitioners.
New attorneys may also be able to land a good deal on legal malpractice insurance. Insurance companies are often eager to sign up new lawyers, with the hope that you'll be a valued customer for years to come.
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