Legal Malpractice Law in a Nutshell charts the dynamic field of lawyer professional liability. With reference to recent cases and statutory developments, the book covers prominent causes of action (including professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud), the role of experts in malpractice litigation, theories of liability to nonclients, affirmative defenses, damages, and fee forfeiture. The book also explores the vicarious liability of lawyers and law firms, conflicts of interest, strategies for reducing errors and claims, and the role of malpractice insurance.
Formatted Contents Note
Cover Page; Title Page; Copyright Page; Dedication; Preface to the Second Edition; Acknowledgments; OUTLINE; Table of Cases; Table of Statutes; Table of Rules; Table of Authorities; Chapter 1. Introduction to Legal Malpractice Law; A. Duties to Clients and Nonclients; B. The Rise of Legal Malpractice Law; 1. The Clark Report and Watergate; 2. Developments in Medical and Accounting Malpractice; C. No End in Sight; D. Practicing Law Defensively; E. The Costs of Legal Malpractice; F. Legal Malpractice Law as a Specialty Field; Chapter 2. Overview of Theories of Liability; A. Culpability 1. Intent2. Negligence and Recklessness; 3. Strict Liability for Breach of Contract; B. Multiple Claims in a Single Lawsuit; 1. Concerns About Fracturing; C. The Consequences of Classification; 1. Scope of Liability; 2. Defenses; 3. Malpractice Insurance; 4. Vicarious Liability; 5. Remedies; 6. Discharge in Bankruptcy; D. Clients, Prospective Clients, and Nonclients; E. Malpractice Versus Discipline; F. The Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers; Chapter 3. Negligence; A. Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care; 1. To Whom Is a Duty Owed; a. Three Kinds of Attorney-Client Relationships (1) Court Appointment(2) Express Agreement; (3) Inadvertent Clients; b. Prospective Clients; c. Class Members; 2. Scope of Representation; a. Defining the Scope of Representation; b. Changes in the Scope of Representation; c. Unreasonable Limits on the Scope of Representation; d. Responsibility for Closely Related Matters; e. Termination of the Attorney-Client Relationship; (1) Post-Termination Loyalty; (2) Termination of Authority; B. Breach of Duty; 1. The Standard of Care; a. An Objective Measure; (1) No Good Faith Defense; (2) Reasonable, Not Average; (3) Consumer Protection B. Risk Balancing and Economic Analysisc. Specific Duties; (1) Competence; (2) Diligence; 2. Exercise of Judgment; a. Room for Discretion; b. The â#x80;#x9C;Mere Error of Judgmentâ#x80;#x9D; Fallacy; c. Not Every Error is Negligence; d. Novel Theories, Trends in the Law, and Other Jurisdictions; 3. Expert Testimony; a. Necessary to Establish the Standard of Care; (1) Exception for Obvious Negligence; (2) Expert Affidavit Requirements; b. Admissibility of Expert Testimony; c. Geographic Frame of Reference; (1) State-Based Standards; (2) Federal Issues; (3) International Law Practice; (4) No Locality Rule D. The Role of Legal Malpractice Experts(1) Duties and Compensation; (2) Independence Versus Partisanship; (3) Honesty and Effectiveness; (4) Testimony on Causation; e. Reliance on Ethics Rules; (1) Directly Relevant Standards; (2) Ignorance of Ethics Rules; (3) Inconsistency with Ethics Rules; (4) Other Sources of Guidance; f. Expert Witness Liability; 4. Specialists, Novices, and Laypersons; a. The Need for a Point of Reference; b. De Facto Specialists; c. Representations of Greater Competence; d. Disclosure of Inexperience; e. Malpractice by Laypersons; 5. Lawyers with Disabilities