For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
(1) LEGAL SERVICE LIABILITY ACTION. Any action against a legal service provider in which it is alleged that some injury or damage was caused in whole or in part by the legal service provider's violation of the standard of care applicable to a legal service provider. A legal service liability action embraces all claims for injuries or damages or wrongful death whether in contract or in tort and whether based on an intentional or unintentional act or omission. A legal services liability action embraces any form of action in which a litigant may seek legal redress for a wrong or an injury and every legal theory of recovery, whether common law or statutory, available to a litigant in a court in the State of Alabama now or in the future.
(2) LEGAL SERVICE PROVIDER. Anyone licensed to practice law by the State of Alabama or engaged in the practice of law in the State of Alabama. The term legal service provider includes professional corporations, associations, and partnerships and the members of such professional corporations, associations, and partnerships and the persons, firms, or corporations either employed by or performing work or services for the benefit of such professional corporations, associations, and partnerships including, without limitation, law clerks, legal assistants, legal secretaries, investigators, paralegals, and couriers.
(3) STANDARD OF CARE.
a. The standard of care applicable to a legal service provider is that level of such reasonable care, skill, and diligence as other similarly situated legal service providers in the same general line of practice in the same general locality ordinarily have and exercise in a like case.
b. However, if the legal service provider publishes the fact that he or she is certified as a specialist in an area of the law or if the legal service provider solicits business by publicly advertising as a specialist in an area of the law, the standard of care applicable to such legal service provider shall be such reasonable care, skill, and diligence as other legal service providers practicing as a specialist in the same area of the law ordinarily have and exercise in a like case.
(4) BREACH OF THE STANDARD OF CARE. The failure by a legal service provider to comply with the applicable standard of care the breach of which proximately causes the injury or damages or wrongful death.
(5) UNDERLYING ACTION. The term underlying action refers to the legal matter concerning the handling of which it is alleged that the legal services provider breached the applicable standard of care. The term is applicable in legal service liability actions in which the legal service provider's liability is dependent in part upon or derived from the legal service provider's acts or omissions concerning the handling of the underlying action.
(6) RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. Any rules governing the conduct of a legal services provider as defined herein.
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