Last Thursday, a San Antonio jury returned a $72.6 million dollar verdict against Akin, Gump in a case where the plaintiff alleged that the patent lawyers failed to properly obtain patents on a device that the plaintiff invented.
The verdict is another in the trend of larger verdicts against large law firms. The American Bar Association publishes a semi-regular survey of legal malpractice claims as reported by legal malpractice insurers. In September 2008, the ABA’s latest version came out, covering claims from 2004-2007. The previous study looked at claims from 2000-2003. One of the more stunning statistics in the study is that claims that were in excess of $1 million doubled from the 2003 survey to the 2007 survey. It’s my hypothesis, not mentioned or addressed in the study, is that one of the reasons is more successful claims against mega-firms.
Interestingly, Akin, Gump is also a party to a legal malpractice case (Akin, Gump v. Nat’l Development and Research Corporation) currently before the Texas Supreme Court, and the ultimate decision promises to be critical to the legal malpractice jurisprudence of our state.
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