When a client comes to you to discuss a legal malpractice case, and mentions a bankruptcy, the first question to determine is whether the malpractice might have been pre- or post-petition.  If it was even arguably pre-petition, the bankrupt client must have listed a claim on the schedules.  If not, there can be no legal malpractice case, except by the trustee.

Here is a case from Texas:

"The bankruptcy court in San Antonio has rejected an attempt to bring an unscheduled legal malpractice claim post-confirmation:

It is undisputed that a bankruptcy debtor is required to schedule all assets and that there is a duty to amend which continues throughout the case. It is also undisputed that none of the Debtors scheduled a potential cause of action against Defendant in their bankruptcy schedules, even though Plaintiffs claim that their causes of action relate solely to prepetition conduct of Defendant. Although Plaintiffs contend that Defendant would not have scheduled causes of action against itself, the undisputed evidence shows that Plaintiffs were also represented by counsel other than Defendant at all relevant times. Not only were there outside counsel prior to and at the commencement of the bankruptcy cases, but on June 10, 2004, the Debtors filed an Application to Employ the Law Firm of Langley & Banack as Co-Counsel for the Debtors. The employment of Langley & Banack was approved by this Court’s Order on July 15, 2004. The Plan and Disclosure Statement were filed by Langley & Banack on or about December 29, 2004, and the confirmation hearing took place on March 2, 2005. If the directors, officers and non-Defendant attorneys of the Plaintiffs wished to assert claims against Defendant, they had ample opportunity to schedule such an asset and specifically reserve it in the Plan. Instead, a general retention clause was merely placed in the Plan and Disclosure Statement which purported to retain any claims which the Plaintiffs might have against any of their professionals. "

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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.