Brooks Schuelke is a trial lawyer in Texas. He will teach a course about prosecuting and defending legal malpractice claims at Solo Practice University®.
Brooks Schuelke is an Austin, Texas trial lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP. Since becoming licensed in 1995, his practice has been almost exclusively limited to the representation of plaintiffs in legal malpractice and other litigation matters. During the course of his practice, Brooks has helped victims of legal malpractice achieve settlements and verdicts in excess of $10,000,000.00. He is also the author of the Texas Legal Malpractice Blog.
Brooks is also a die-hard University of Texas fan. His dad played baseball at the University of Texas, his mom attended the University of Texas, and Brooks received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law after receiving his B.B.A. from the University of Texas Business Honors Program. Brooks is also a member of the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council.
Brooks is married and has two young children who he hopes will also attend the University of Texas.
Syllabus – Prosecuting and Defending (and avoiding) Legal Malpractice Claims
This class is designed for all of those interested in working on either side of the legal malpractice docket. I intend to give a broad overview of legal malpractice claims and real nuts and bolts advice on how to prosecute or defend legal malpractice claims.
But beyond that, I think it’s a class for all practicing lawyers. The discussions that we have will provide great examples, in a variety of practice areas, of “what not to do” in your own practice.
Throughout the sessions, we’ll look at the following:
A. What Every Lawyer Should Know About Legal Malpractice Law (The Basics of Legal Malpractice Claims)
During this discussion, we’ll look at the popular issues in legal malpractice claims, including elements of causes of action, damages, defenses, the relationship between ethics rules and legal malpractice claims and attorneys’ liability to non-clients. We’ll also look at the American Bar Association’s statistics of legal malpractice claims to get an idea of the “demographics” of legal malpractice claims.
B. Looking For Claims: Common (and not-so-common) Legal Malpractice Scenarios
Every practice area has recurring fact patterns (a missed statute of limitation, perhaps?) that come up again and again, and we’ll take some time looking at common legal malpractice fact patterns. But often, the difference between the successful prosecution or defense of a legal malpractice claim depends on the lawyer’s ability to fully understand the “hidden” claims that you might not find in your standard checklist of potential claims. So we’ll also take some time to look at those.
C. Evaluating The Legal Malpractice Claim
One of the great things about representing plaintiffs is that (unlike insurance defense lawyers who have to defend whomever the insurance company sends them) the attorney gets to pick and choose which clients to represent and cases to pursue. On the other hand, that freedom makes case evaluation critical. We’ll look at the top 10 or so things to really consider before you take on a legal malpractice claim.
D. Litigating Legal Malpractice Claims From the Plaintiff and Defendant Perspective
We’ll talk about how to run a legal malpractice case with special attention to the trial of the “case within a case” or “trial within a trial” requirements. From the plaintiff’s perspective, we’ll look at key issues in the effective prosecution of a claim. From the defendant’s perspective, we’ll look at ways to defend malpractice claims and some common mistakes that plaintiff’s lawyers make that may help defense of the claim.
E. Some Practice Basics
We’ll briefly look at some key practice steps that will help you in your plaintiff or defense legal malpractice practice.
F. The Unthinkable: Legal Malpractice From Your Perspective
This area will address 10 tips for the avoidance of malpractice claims, suggestions on what to do if you figure out you have committed malpractice or a claim is filed against you, and the basics of errors and omissions insurance.
I also intend to answer as many questions as possible. That may include an extra session spent answering submitted questions or including a short part in each session to answer questions submitted after the previous session.