When you think about the expenses that attorneys and law firms have, legal malpractice insurance should be an essential part of their operating expenses. It should be the bedrock for a successful enterprise. Without malpractice insurance, the firm, as well as the attorneys who work in it, can be put in jeopardy by one disgruntled client.
Even with the specter of disaster from a malpractice case, some attorneys in Florida do not have malpractice insurance.
“Going bare” as it is called, may put the attorney (as well as his or her personal assets) at risk. Even if a claimant is unsuccessful, defending a malpractice claim takes time and costs money…two things that an attorney cannot risk compromising. However, there are some attorneys who consider malpractice insurance financial burden, especially new attorneys or lawyers who are just establishing a practice.
Despite this, attorneys are human, and they can make mistakes just like any other professional. When this occurs, a disgruntled client will want to hold their lawyer accountable.
In the state of Florida, attorneys are not required to carry malpractice insurance, but they must report whether they have such coverage each year when they register. There are no exact numbers regarding how many attorneys are practicing without insurance.
While we do not take a position on whether Florida attorneys should carry insurance, we do know that policies at many different price points are available. With that, it would be prudent to think carefully about forgoing the short-term cost of insurance, and balance it against the long-term risk of protracted litigation through a malpractice lawsuit.