Here is a rather sour entry from Forbes. I’ve reprinted a portion of this subscription required article.

Getting Theirs
Daniel Fisher, 05.22.06

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch: Nowadays law firms are the targets of tort suits.
Bill Lerach is sorry, genuinely sorry. The securities lawyer, best known for bedeviling corporate executives with shareholder suits, felt compelled to go after some of his own in the Enron scandal. On behalf of shareholders he sued Vinson & Elkins, Enron’s law firm, on the theory that it participated in the fraud that led to Enron’s collapse.

“It broke our hearts to go after them,” Lerach says of the 700-lawyer Houston firm. He must have been sobbing all the way to the court clerk’s office, transporting a suit with a $40 billion damage claim. V&E says it shouldn’t be sued for merely providing legal advice to somebody else.

For decades most courts dismissed such cases, decreeing that lawyers are accountable only to their clients, not to people their clients may have injured. No longer. In the relentless search for new targets to sue and new ways to find legal liability, plaintiff lawyers have come upon the deliciously ironic idea of going after other lawyers.

“We’ve seen mistakes that wouldn’t necessarily result in a lawsuit five years ago becoming a lawsuit now, even out in the boonies,” says Ariel Hessing of Walnut Advisory Corp., a legal malpractice underwriter in Warren, N.J. “It’s become routine for lawyers to sue lawyers.”

Suits against lawyers by nonclients, once practically unknown, now account for 10% to 15% of new claims against big law firms, said Lawrence Zabinski of Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society, at an American Bar Association meeting on legal malpractice in April. The claims “are the product of ever-increasing plaintiff lawyer creativity,” Zabinski said.

Imagine, lawyers hoist with their own petard. “I hate to say it, but lawsuits are in the air, and people and corporations are finding it easy to blame somebody else for their problems,” says Benjamin Hill, a corporate defense lawyer in Tampa and head of the Lawyers’ Professional Liability Committee of the ABA.

While the number of standard legal malpractice claims have remained steady, awards are getting bigger. From 1985 to 2003 payments over $100,000 rose sixfold to 482, and payments over $2 million (a category that wasn’t even tracked in 1985) jumped to 19 in 2003 from 10 in 1999.

Malpractice insurance is almost unaffordable for some high-risk specialties such as securities and patent law, where damage claims can run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Premiums have jumped about 20% for other business lawyers, to around $15,000 per year, says Hessing.

One by-product of all this litigation: defensive lawyering, as attorneys write elaborate memos to justify their behavior in case they get sued. In New Jersey, ever a trendsetter in finding new tort liabilities, lawyers now videotape will signings to head off lawsuits by disgruntled heirs. A session at the ABA malpractice meeting called “Death by Laptop” reminded lawyers that they can be held liable for failing to back up important documents or even for having obsolete technology below the current “standard of care.” Doctors, who face this kind of judicial second-guessing every day, can only smile.

Corporate scandals have been especially ripe for suits against lawyers. Outside attorneys have been dragged into cases against Adelphia Communications (the self-dealing cable outfit), Refco (the commodities trader) and Parmalat (the Italian food packager). This year the prominent New York City law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison contributed an undisclosed amount to a $180 million settlement over the collapse of the Boston Chicken restaurant chain. In a statement to the New York Law Journal in February it denied wrongdoing and said it settled to avoid the “risk of litigating.”

But it’s not just blockbuster securities cases that are giving lawyers fits. Partners are filing age-discrimination suits against their own law firms for demoting them to make room for younger attorneys. The Colorado Supreme Court recently held that car-wreck victims could use the state’s liberal consumer-protection law to sue a lawyer who recruited clients with flashy television ads (“In a wreck? Get a check!”). Even routine practices, such as the assembly-line production of documents in real estate closings, have become a minefield as banks sue their own lawyers over soured loans. “The lender goes through the closing documents with a fine-tooth comb and says, ‘You should have noticed this,'” says Brian Baney, director of professional liability program claims at Zurich Insurance.

“Lawyers were among the last to really feel the impact of malpractice litigation, because we were the gatekeepers to the courts,” says Ronald Mallen, an attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson in San Francisco and coauthor of the five-volume textbook Legal Malpractice. Now, he says, “the gatekeepers have opened the gates.”

The gates started to swing open in the 1960s, when courts in California allowed disgruntled beneficiaries to sue lawyers for making mistakes in a will, overriding the longstanding rule against suits by nonclients (perhaps because in this case the client was underground). Then, in the 1970s, courts developed the theory of “negligent misrepresentation.” Originally applied against accountants who supplied faulty audits, it eventually morphed into a way for nonclients to sue lawyers over errors in commercial transactions.

Many suits–and some of the biggest verdicts–stem from conflicts of interest, which are becoming more difficult to avoid as law firms combine into international behemoths. Kathleen C. Cailloux, the widow of Texas oilfield equipment maker Floyd A. Cailloux, sued Baker Botts after the Houston firm advised her to transfer the bulk of her husband’s $65 million estate into a charitable foundation to save on inheritance taxes. Baker Botts was “trying to represent all three sides of a three-corner triangle,” says attorney Rick W. Harrison; it represented the foundation as well as Wells Fargo (nyse: WFC – news – people ) Bank, the employer of the foundation’s president, William Goertz.

A Texas jury last year ruled that Baker Botts hadn’t adequately explained the risks of such multiple representations and ordered the firm to replace the $65 million that Cailloux gave away to the foundation. Baker Botts has appealed, saying it saved Floyd Cailloux’s descendants $40 million in taxes, and the jury ignored a signed waiver from Cailloux spelling out the potential conflicts. Look for more such cases as baby boomers find flaws in the elaborate tax-avoidance structures their parents set up before they died.

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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.