Massachusetts doesn’t require that lawyers carry malpractice insurance, but it is highly recommended just in case you are named in a malpractice lawsuit. As an attorney, you know both how frequent malpractice claims are and how fickle judgments can be. Professional liability insurance, or malpractice insurance, is a good protection.
- 6 best lawyers malpractice insurance companies in Massachusetts
- What is legal malpractice insurance?
- What does lawyers professional liability insurance cover in Massachusetts?
- Understand the specifics of legal malpractice coverage in Massachusetts
- Is lawyers malpractice insurance required in Massachusetts?
- Who needs lawyers professional liability insurance coverage in Massachusetts?
- How much does lawyers malpractice insurance cost in Massachusetts?
6 best lawyers malpractice insurance companies in Massachusetts
We have done the research and here are our recommendation of the top 6 lawyers professional liability insurance companies in Massachusetts.
- CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes
- Embroker: Best for a great completely digital experience
- Simply Business: Best for finding cheap legal malpractice insurance in Massachusetts
- Boston Bar Association: Best for association discounts
- Massachusetts Bar Association: Best if you prefer getting legal malpractice coverage from a industry leader
- Attorney’s Advantage: Best for small firms of up to 25 lawyers
CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes
You can’t beat CoverWallet for its ease of obtaining multiple quotes from insurance companies. It doesn’t always return an immediate quote, however, as this is the message we got when we tried to get a quote for a law office with two attorneys practicing in Boston:
Embroker: Best for a great completely digital experience
Embroker offers a straightforward quoting system. They ask a lot of questions in order to get a quote, but we chalk that up to their being thorough. They want to know what type of law you practice, the percentages of each type, and if you comply with state CLE requirements (continuing legal education). They also wanted to know what legal management software we used because using such software gets you a 10% discount.
Below is a quote sample we got from Embroker for a small law firm with 3 attorneys specializing in corporate laws.
Simply Business: Best for finding cheap legal malpractice insurance in Massachusetts
Simply Business is a broker specializing in small business insurance. They work with many carriers with a focus to help you find low-cost coverage that your business may need, including legal malpractice insurance. They vet the carriers that they work with carefully to ensure that all of them have excellent financial ratings. They select the carriers that can offer low-cost coverage even if these carriers may not be well-known and small businesses may not have access to them otherwise.
- Easy to get and compare several quotes online
- Able to get quotes from A-rated carriers which you may not be aware of and offer low cost
- Knowledgeable agents that are available to help you along the process
- If you prefer a particular carrier that Simply Business doesn’t work with, you may need to look elsewhere
- Have to file a claim directly with the carriers
Boston Bar Association: Best for association discounts
If you’re a Boston Bar association member in good standing, you can get legal malpractice insurance through them. They don’t underwrite their own policies: coverage is through USI Affinity. They have over 50 years of experience and insure more than 40,000 lawyers. USI Affinity partners with Boston Bar Association to provide legal malpractice insurance for Massachusetts lawyers and they offer some discount to the members.
They don’t offer instant online quotes. To get information on pricing, you can fill out a form and they’ll get back to you, or you can call them at 1-855-USI-0100.
Massachusetts Bar Association: Best if you prefer getting legal malpractice coverage from a industry leader
Another option for Massachusetts attorneys is the Massachusetts Bar Association. According to Lawyer’s Weekly, they’ve offered the best professional liability insurance policies in MA for the past four years. They don’t underwrite their own insurance either, but pair with CNA insurance, a highly respected insurance company.
They don’t offer online quotes, though. To get information on pricing, potential clients can fill out a rather lengthy 6-page application and then attach a check, which seems a little antiquated, but to each their own. Here’s a screenshot of the first page of the application:
Attorney’s Advantage: Best for small firms of up to 25 lawyers
For firms of less than 25 lawyers, Attorney’s Advantage is a worthy choice. Insurance is underwritten by AON, and they insure more than 30,000 attorneys nationwide. CoverWallet is an AON company.
Below is a quote sample that we got from Attorney’s Advantage. It is empowered by CoverWallet. This quote is for a law firm of 5 full-time attorneys of $1,000,000 in annual payroll and $2,000,000 in annual revenue.
What is legal malpractice insurance?
Legal malpractice insurance is the same as professional liability insurance, but specifically for lawyers. It might seem strange that lawyers need their own insurance in case they get sued, but as any lawyer can tell you, they are named in lawsuits all the time. Clients may feel their lawyer was negligent, especially if the lawyer didn’t win the case. Lawyers are also commonly sued for:
- Confidentiality breaches: lawyers are supposed to keep all aspects of a client’s information confidential. However, sometimes even the best lawyer can slip up and reveal something that gets made public, resulting in a lawsuit.
- Administrative errors: these can be the result of a simple math error, or entering information incorrectly in the computer. They can also be the result of a cyberattack, which could tamper or even delete online receipts and records.
- Missing deadlines: If a lawyer misses a deadline, it can result in an entire case being dismissed.
Lawyers can even be sued by non-clients, although it’s hard to prove malpractice against someone you haven’t hired. For example, if a client refuses to sign an agreement, a non-client could assert that the client is conspiring with their attorney and then sue the attorney.
What does lawyers professional liability insurance cover in Massachusetts?
Errors and omissions insurance covers the cost of defending a lawyer or legal practice in a civil lawsuit and certain damages awarded, even if the lawsuit ends up being groundless.
Common claims that legal professional liability insurance covers are negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice. Some policies could also cover privacy violations and confidential breaches. Each policy is different, so make sure you read them carefully.
Lawyers professional liability protection is not part of your general liability or commercial property insurance. General liability covers costs associated with injuries that happen to clients, visitors, and passers-by on your business property. Commercial property insurance covers property damage that occurs while doing business.
Understand the specifics of legal malpractice coverage in Massachusetts
As a lawyer, you should know to read contracts carefully. Some policies cover these things, but many don’t. Your policy may not cover:
- Prior acts—most policies won’t cover anything that occurred before you had the policy
- Non-firm legal activities—some policies will not cover you for pro bono work, or volunteer work, or giving out legal advice to people who ultimately sue you.
- Business activities—professional liability coverage does not cover your law firm for things like workplace injuries. You’ll need commercial liability or general liability insurance for that.
- Cyber acts or hacking—being hacked is extremely common in 2022, but your professional liability/legal malpractice insurance does not cover you for data leaks or cyber-attacks. You need cyber insurance for that.
Is lawyers malpractice insurance required in Massachusetts?
Professional liability insurance for legal professionals isn’t required in Massachusetts. However, almost all practicing attorneys and lawyers in Massachusetts have it since it is usually required at their workplaces. The cost of not having it far overweighs the cost of the policy. It is not worth skipping on this critical coverage.
Who needs lawyers professional liability insurance coverage in Massachusetts?
A wide array of legal professionals in Massachusetts need this type of coverage, including:
- Bankruptcy referees
- Criminal law offices
- Corporate attorneys
- Counselors at law
- Estate lawyers and offices
- Law firms and offices
- Legal aid offices
- Patent solicitor’s offices
- Estate lawyers and law offices
- Family lawyers and practices
- One person practices
- Private practices
- Real estate lawyers and law offices
- Tax lawyers and law offices
- Pro bono lawyers
How much does lawyers malpractice insurance cost in Massachusetts?
Many factors go into determining how much you pay for malpractice insurance, like:
- The size of your law firm (bigger firms have higher rates)
- Claims history (obviously, if you’ve been sued before, you’ll pay more for malpractice insurance)
- Type of law you practice (some types of law are more complex than others, resulting in higher rates)
- Whether or not you use legal management software
- Whether you make every client sign an agreement
- Years of experience
- Annual hours worked (the more hours you work, the more chances there are for you to screw something up)
- Other risk-management factors
That said, most attorneys can expect to pay between $2,500 and $3,500 a year. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or with a broker to compare several quotes to get the cheapest one for you and your firm.
What’s it like to practice law in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts ranks number one in the country in education, including several top-notch law schools, such as Harvard Law. The average annual salary for an attorney in Boston is $151,750 a year. Massachusetts is not particularly litigious, but there is plenty of work for attorneys. Massachusetts is a densely populated state, so people living together in close proximity tend to get on each other’s nerves and sue.
Lawyers know that people can sue for all sorts of reasons, even completely irrational reasons. Just because you practice law doesn’t mean someone won’t sue you. Legal malpractice insurance protects you from lawsuits and legal defense costs.