Protect internal communications

August 21, 2012
Daily Report

Increasingly, attorneys and law firms face the prospect of a legal malpractice claim. Sometimes, the first notice is a demand or complaint. Other times, a client threatens a malpractice claim during the course of a representation or otherwise does something that causes an attorney or a firm to suspect a potential claim. More commonly, an unexpected or adverse development causes an attorney or a firm to consider the possibility that the client might blame them.

The first step for an attorney is to talk with colleagues about the issue and make an assessment regarding whether any exposure is real or imagined. While completely reasonable, those inquiries and related communications (often by email) can be either the best or worst decision that an attorney will make in connection with a potential claim for legal malpractice.

Attorneys have no worse critics of their own legal services than themselves — second-guessing almost every decision and questioning whether a different strategy or action might have lead to a different result. In the context of a legal malpractice claim, such recriminations can be the most damaging evidence.

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