Legal Malpractice Insurance: California

Legal Malpractice Insurance California: aggressive comparison shopping to find you the best coverage and price in CA. Short online application. Fast, free quotes from all major “A”-rated insurers.

We’re Lawyers Insurance Group, legal malpractice insurance brokers serving California.

Fast Facts:

  • Most solo practitioners in California pay $750 – $1,750 for their first policy. A 2-atty. firm will pay slightly less than double that; a 3-atty. firm, slightly less than triple that, etc. Rates are highest in the Los Angeles area, slightly lower in the San Francisco area, and much lower in central California.
  • The main factors that determine the premium, are your firm’s atty. count, practice areas, county, and desired policy limits.
  • Criminal defense lawyers pay the lowest premiums, followed by immigration; family and business; bankruptcy and employment; and PI, real estate, and trusts-estates lawyers. Patent, securities, and class action lawyer pay the highest premiums, and generally have to obtain coverage in the alternative market.
  • The minimum policy limits are $100,000 per claim/$300,000 annual aggregate, followed by $250,000/$500,000, which costs about 35% more, and then $500,000/$1,000,000, $1,000,000/$1,000,000, etc. Each greater level costs 10% – 25% more. Most solos choose one of the first two levels.
  • Attorneys who practice 26 or fewer hours per week, qualify for a part-time rate, which will reduce the premium by 25% – 50%.
  • More than a dozen insurers offer this coverage in CA, but the most competitive are Everest, AIG, General Star, Westport, and Zurich. However, insurers frequently change their rates, so you have to shop thoroughly to obtain the best terms.


Apply, Quote, Buy:

  • Fill out our short on-line application or download it below.
  • We’ll send your firm’s application to all viable insurers, based on its risk profile (firm size, practice areas, county, etc.), and request proposals at different limits and deductibles, so you can make the optimal choice.
  • Some insurers allow brokers to input a firm’s application, and receive instant quotes. We’ll email you those insurers’ quotes, shortly after you apply, and advise you if any of them are the best available, or if you’re better off waiting a few days, for the other insurers to offer proposals.
  • We’ll explain the coverage and policy limits, answer your questions, and send you any insurer’s policy to review, if desired.
  • To accept any of the instant quotes, sign the quote sheet that we’ll email you. To accept a proposal from an insurer that doesn’t offer instant quotes, you’ll have to complete its long application to receive a binding quote, which should match the proposal. We’ll fill it out to the extent possible, based on the online application that you completed, and send it to you to finish.
  • If you accept any insurer’s binding quote, your coverage will be in place.
  • Pay the premium in full or finance it (10% down, followed by 11 monthly payments).


Contact me, if you have any questions or want help with our online application:
Curt Cooper, Founder and Managing Broker
(202) 802-6415 | ccooper ‘at’ lawyersinsurer.com
California Department of Insurance License #0M91437
National Association of Insurance Commissioners Reg. #1017031

To learn more about legal malpractice insurance, visit these pages:

Ia. Legal Malpractice Insurance California – Application Help for First-Time Buyers

    1. Practice areas grid: allocate your billings by percentage per practice area, i.e., 30% family law, 20% personal injury law, etc. Your answers will greatly affect the premium.

If your firm has been open for a year or more, then fill out the grid based on your gross billings for the last 12 months. If it’s been open less than 12 months, fill out the grid based on your billings to date, plus your projections for the remainder of your first 12 months.

The application asks when your firm was founded, so the insurers will know if your figures are projections, and they won’t penalize you, if your projections turn out to be inaccurate. When your policy renews next year, you’ll have a year of data, and will be able to report your practice areas accurately. 

Your coverage won’t be restricted to the practice areas that you list on the application. 

   2. Risk management: docket/calendaring, conflicts-checking, and use of engagement letters/non-engagement/termination letters.

You won’t get quotes unless you have at least basic risk management procedures in place, so don’t apply until you do.

Even if you don’t handle litigated matters, and thus don’t need a docketing system, you’ll still have deadlines to meet, and the insurers will expect you to use a primary and back-up calendar.

If you answer the questions “no”, i.e., you don’t use any calendaring or conflicts-checking tools, or a retainer agreement or engagement letter, then every insurer will decline your application. See #19 on our FAQs page for a list of acceptable tools. Some manual tools are listed, but computerized tools, i.e., practice management software, are preferred.

   3. Back-up attorney: most insurers require sole practitioners to have a back-up; several insurers require the back-up’s name and address.

The person’s role is to contact your clients and any other relevant parties, and obtain any necessary postponement/extension until you return, if you incur an accident, illness, etc., that leaves you unable to handle your cases. In an extreme situation, the back-up will arrange for replacement counsel, or take over your cases, although that’s not required. 

There’s virtually no liability risk, because the back-up doesn’t establish an atty.-client relationship, unless he/she takes over the cases. 

Any attorney barred in your state of domicile will suffice. Most attorneys turn to a former colleague as their back-up. 

Ib. Legal Malpractice Insurance California – How Our Process Benefits You

Does your firm have the best possible terms on its malpractice insurance, i.e., the broadest coverage at the lowest price?

The only way to find out is to test the market.

That’s where we come in. 

We submit each firm’s application to all viable insurers, based on its risk profile – typically 7 – 10 – and obtain proposals at the firm’s current terms, and at policy limits one or more levels higher. If the best proposals are close, we solicit another round of proposals from the ‘finalists’.

This aggressive comparison shopping lets us consistently obtain much better coverage and pricing for firms than they currently have.

More than a dozen major insurers cover California firms, and they compete fiercely for good risks. If your firm hasn’t incurred a claim in five or more years, and hasn’t shopped for competing quotes in two or more years, then one or more of those insurers will likely offer it much better terms than it currently has.

Attorney Protective, AXIS, and Westport usually offer the best terms to California firms. 

To obtain no-cost, no-obligation quotes from these and other ‘A’-rated legal malpractice insurers, send us your most recent application, or complete our short application, either online or by downloading it.

We’ll help you compare the competing quotes to your current terms, and make the best decision.

There’s no risk, and a potentially great reward.

II. Legal Malpractice Insurance California – Request Quotes 

If you’re ready to get the best terms on your firm’s malpractice insurance, fill out our on-line application, or download, complete, and return our one-page premium estimate form:

Online:

Download:

NOTES:

• If you filled out an application or premium estimate form for another broker or any insurer, send us that, instead of filling out our form.

• All proposals that we obtain for you are no-cost, no-obligation.

If you accept any of them, then the insurer that offered it will pay us a percentage of the premium as a commission.

That’s our only compensation; we don’t charge any fees.

We thus have every incentive to find you the best terms available in the market.

III. Attorney Feedback

“I recently worked with Curtis…I thought he did an excellent job staying in touch with me and giving me fair advice, without pressure to purchase anything in particular…he actually advised me to simply renew with my current carrier, despite the fact that it would not have led to any monetary compensation for him…” (Rating: 5 stars out of 5.)

Full review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/lawyers-insurance-group-washington

We received this email from the owner of a law firm for whom we procured malpractice coverage after its existing coverage was non-renewed:
“From beginning to end, you have served us so well, keeping me informed every step of the way.  Thank you Curtis!  I will recommend you without hesitation to any lawyer in need of a professional insurance broker.”

IV. Legal Malpractice Insurance California – Who We Serve

We serve new and established law firms of all sizes and in all practice areas, throughout California, from Sacramento to San Diego, Santa Barbara to Fresno, and all points in between.

V. Legal Malpractice Insurance Explained

VI. Reduce Your Risk of Committing Legal Malpractice

Calendaring/Docketing Best Practices

Conflict of Interest Avoidance Best Practices

Engagement Letter/Retainer Agreement Best Practices

Billing Practices to Increase Realization Rates and Avoid Fee Suits

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AUTHOR
Dieter Clauss

Dieter Clauss is the Vice President of Clauss & Co, Inc and serves as the director of Lawyers Insurance Groups professional liability department. Dieter spent 4 years in commercial underwriting at RT Specialty prior to joining Clauss & Co in 2019. In 2023 Dieter earned his RPLU designation from the Professional Liability Underwriting Society of America.

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