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Professional liability claims can take the wind out of the sails of anyone’s legal career, but can be especially demoralizing for a new lawyer. Your best chance at avoiding claims is to develop great working habits right from the start. Here are some practice ‘resolutions’ that you may want to consider. Want more? Read the whole resolutions feature on the website (find it at

Want to avoid the most common claims in your particular area of law? Try these resolutions…

…to avoid litigation claims

  • I will talk to my clients more often and not rely on email so much.
  • I will make sure to have written confirmation of instructions and advice.
  • I will enter target dates a few days early to avoid last minute complications.
  • I will maintain current knowledge of administration dismissal rules (see the Rule 48 Transition Toolkit at
  • I will create more detailed time dockets.
  • I will review my file before closing it to make sure every task is accounted for.

…to avoid corporate-commercial claims

  • I will not dabble in areas outside my expertise.
  • I will follow the firm’s conflict checking system and take action on conflicts.
  • I will take the time to catch all the details and do the job right.

…to avoid real estate claims

  • I will ensure I meet with my clients in person at least once.
  • I will remember that the lender is also my client in most residential transactions.
  • I will make sure I take my instructions from the person with the true interest at risk in the transaction.
  • I will document my conversations with and instructions from the client.
  • I will not give my electronic registration password to my clerks or anyone else.

…to avoid family law claims

  • I will make better use of reporting letters and checklists. (Check out LAWPRO’s Domestic Contracts Matter Toolkit at to access the LAWPRO Magazine archives and many other useful practice resources
  • I will borrow a book from the practicePRO Lending Library (
  • I will regularly use practicePRO checklists and precedents.
  • I will check the blog to confirm my fraud suspicions.