The purpose of the Legal Malpractice Law Review is very simple: To help make us all better lawyers.
Today, we lawyers are expected to adhere to the highest levels of competence, diligence and honesty at the risk of being held accountable for substantial money damages to clients and non-clients. Our law schools teach and test us on professional responsibility, i.e., legal ethics. But very few offer us a course in professional liability, i.e., legal malpractice. The two fields are distinct, yet both are essential for us if we are expected to deliver high quality legal services. Just as we need to know about professional responsibility, we must also know about professional liability; and how to avoid it.
We’re all busy lawyers. But now, through the simplicity and convenience of blog technology, Legal Malpractice Law Review allows us to quickly learn —through its one-minute case summaries, about the professional mistakes other lawyers have made. We will also see how to avoid those mistakes and thus spare ourselves from the catastrophic risks of malpractice; not to mention how to protect our own clients from the harm they will suffer from such mistakes. Over the years, we plan to build an on-line archive of one-minute-case summaries for as many past and current court decisions we can find that touch on the substantive area of legal malpractice. In addition, we plan to post important resource materials such as standards, Restatement sections and Rules that pertain to legal malpractice. We will also be able to participate in blog discussions on timely topics conducted by well-known practitioners, insurance industry professionals, law school faculty and experts in the field.
I am so grateful to many who have made the Legal Malpractice Law Review a reality: First, my Lawyer Malpractice students at Hofstra Law School, whose required research and writing assignments provide most of the content for the one-minute-case summaries appearing in this blog. Since 1990, each of my students has inspired me to continue to study, work in and help to build this new substantive area of the law. The President, Dean and Law School faculty at Hofstra have served as a constant source of support to me, encouraging originality, innovation and practice-based relevance in legal education. The many lawyers and law firms– from both the defense and plaintiff’s bar, throughout the country, who have given me the privilege to serve as their legal malpractice and ethics consultant and expert witness in over 1000 fascinating cases. The many clients–from widows and orphans to publicly traded corporations and prominent law firms, who have entrusted me with representing their respective interests in legal malpractice cases for over three decades. They all have provided me with a continuing and generous supply of educational resources. And finally, to my wife and partner in life for the past 40+ years– whose beauty, loyalty and pragmatism have given me nothing less than the world, and more.
It is my sincere hope that all members of the legal community will gain from this effort and that it will ultimately find its appropriate place in the ongoing quest to make us all better lawyers for the benefit of those who depend on our counsel.
Bennett J. Wasserman