Apropos of this post, this chart from Minnesota Lawyers Mutual (a national insurer, despite the name) shows the number of malpractice claims according to years of experience. As you can see, lawyers with 10+ years of experience produce far more malpractice claims per policy than lawyers with fewer years of experience.

There are a few caveats. First, this doesn’t show ethics complaints. Also, the occurrence of an ethics complaint or a malpractice claim may or may not correlate to competence. And there are a number of reasons why lawyers with more experience (and therefore, a longer “tail” of clients) should have greater malpractice exposure. But what I think it is fair to say, based on this chart, is that new lawyers aren’t getting into hot water out of proportion to older lawyers.