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Q-Does my lawyers have legal malpractice insurance? Is it required to practice law?

I continue to be amazed at the number of lawyers who do not have this very important insurance. Legal malpractice insurance protects the public, our clients, in cases where the lawyers missed a statute of limitations by neglect or otherwise, or where the lawyer misused his/her escrow account (holding client money) or for any number of other reasons. Not doing a good job is NOT legal malpractice.

The cost of legal malpractice insurance yearly depends on the kind of practice the lawyer is engaged in. If the lawyer is a one lawyer shop doing workers' compensation, automobile accident cases and Social Security Disability law, the cost is around $2,000 to $3,500 per year for $1,000,000 of coverage.

The proposal now before the State Bar would only require the lawyer to say yes or no when the lawyer renews their license yearly and pays their bar dues to remain in good standing.

I believe a legitimate question to ask a lawyer at your first in person interview is: “do you have a currently paid up policy of legal malpractice insurance?” If the lawyer gets resentful at this question, you know what the answer is! Then it is time to continue your search for the right lawyer.

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