View from City Road: Lawyers caught up in the rush to sue

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The Independent Online
It seems that lawyers have invented the philosopher's stone. When things go well, the legal profession makes big profits. If things go badly and they get sued, they still make money - as someone has to do the suing.

There has been a rash of big court claims against law firms recently - one for pounds 50m against Simmons & Simmons and another for pounds 60m against Titmuss Sainer & Webb, for example. Yesterday another was launched, by BZW against Clifford Chance, the City's biggest law firm, over its role in the British & Commonwealth saga.

In the great wave of company collapses during the recession, lenders and shareholders were the first to feel the heat. Then creditors and regulators started looking around for people to sue - and picked on the merchant bank advisers and auditors.

The search continues, and the ripples have now reached the legal advisers. But what is good news for litigation partners will be bad news for professional indemnity insurance rates - and clients. This cost just gets passed on.

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