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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The legal profession is largely self-regulated, and each state has a bar association charged with creating and enforcing basic standards of professionalism and competence for attorneys. Unfortunately, attorneys do not always adhere to these standards. In Georgia, the State Bar can address attorney misconduct through remedial measures up to and including disbarment. The State Bar cannot, however, compensate wronged clients through monetary damages.Thus, some wronged clients must resort to a lawsuit for legal malpractice where a financial recovery is necessary to make the client whole again.

The statute of limitations for legal malpractice claims should not be so restrictive that good claims are tossed out with the bad ones. Nor should it facilitate dishonest, self-protective strategies by attorneys after they make a mistake. Part I of this Note explains Georgia’s legal malpractice statute of limitations, the occurrence rule. Part II analyzes the potential pitfalls of Georgia’s continued use of an unaltered occurrence rule, and examines the statutes of limitations that other states have adopted to address those pitfalls. Part III proposes a new legal malpractice statute of limitations for Georgia, designed to better protect clients from attorney malfeasance without contravening general principles of Georgia jurisprudence.