Lawyers enjoy huge systemic advantages when they are sued for malpractice. Arbitrators are lawyers. Judges are lawyers. These decision-makers might easily sympathize with the lawyer-defendant before the client-victim.
As a second advantage, lawyers can and do sometimes represent themselves, leveraging cost efficiencies while the former clients hemorrhage litigation expenses. In the alternative, many lawyers enjoy an insurance defense war-chest that orients them toward fighting longer and harder than they otherwise might, had they borne the risks of litigation directly.
Third, the statute of limitations to sue a lawyer, at one year, is among the shortest of all California torts. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.6 (“An action against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services shall be commenced within one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission.
The statute of limitations begins to run: (1) when the client discovers, or should discover, the facts establishing the elements of his cause of action for legal malpractice, Genisman v. Carley, 29 Cal. App. 5th 45, 50 (2018), and (2) when the client sustains appreciable and actual harm, Budd v. Nixen, 6 Cal. 3d 195, 201 (1971). The statute shall be tolled, however, as long at the attorney continues to represent the client. See Kelly v. Orr, 243 Cal. App. 4th 940, 948 (2016); Laclette v. Galindo, 184 Cal. App. 4th 919, 927 (2010) (“An attorney's representation of a client ordinarily ends when the client discharges the attorney or consents to a withdrawal, the court consents to the attorney's withdrawal, or upon completion of the tasks for which the client retained the attorney.”).
Thus, typically, the statute will begin to run when three events have occurred: (1) the client is aware of the malfeasance, and (2) has suffered actual harm as a consequence of the malfeasance, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.6(a)(1), and (3) the attorney has withdrawn or been discharged, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.6(a)(2).