It is an almost ironclad requirement that experts be used in legal malpractice settings, either to state the standard of ordinary rasonable skill and knowledge commonl possessed by an attorney.  In Lieberman v Green 2021 NY Slip Op 00163 Decided on January 13, 2021 Appellate Division, Second Department the client (acting pro se) didn’t hava an expert.  The result was fatal.

“The plaintiffs moved for summary judgment dismissing the counterclaim alleging legal malpractice, and the defendant opposed. In an order dated July 16, 2018, the Supreme Court, granted the plaintiffs’ motion. The defendant appeals. We affirm.

“‘In moving for summary judgment dismissing a [cause of action] alleging legal malpractice, [movant] must present evidence establishing, prima facie, that it did not breach the duty [*2]to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by a member of the legal profession, or that the plaintiff did not sustain actual and ascertainable damages as a result of such deviation'” (Dominguez v Mirman, Markovitz & Landau, P.C., 180 AD3d 646, 647, quoting Mazzurco v Gordon, 173 AD3d 1003, 1003). Here, the plaintiffs submitted evidence, including an expert affirmation, demonstrating, prima facie, that, given the totality of circumstances under which the parties made their agreement on March 9, 2012, the plaintiffs did not breach their duty to exercise the ordinary reasonable skill and knowledge commonly possessed by an attorney by having the terms of the stipulation transcribed by the stenographer, and agreeing to later present such stipulation to the court to be so-ordered.

In opposition, the defendant, who did not submit an expert affidavit, failed to raise a triable issue of fact. His opposition consisted entirely of speculative and conclusory assertions (see Sang Seok NA v Schietroma, 163 AD3d 597, 599; Harris v Barbera, 163 AD3d 534, 535; Schadoff v Russ, 278 AD2d 222, 223). Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court’s determination granting the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the defendant’s counterclaim alleging legal malpractice.”

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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.