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View the latest blog posts from Lawyer’s Insurance Alliance to stay up-to-date with insurance industry trends, policy options, and insurance tips.

Attorney working on a laptop.

Disclosure of Private Information

Law Firm Claim Scenario: Disclosure of Private Information Here’s an example of a law firm that accidentally had a disclosure of private information. We hope this claim example can help your practice avoid potential problems in the future by providing the details around the claim.  The following claim is related to a cyber liability insurance […]

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Law firm employees in a meeting.

Personal and Advertising Injury

What is personal and advertising injury coverage? Included on every general liability insurance policy for law firms is a coverage entitled “Personal and Advertising Injury.”  The problem is that very few people understand what this coverage is and how it can protect your company. Personal and Advertising Injury is Limited in Scope First, Personal and Advertising […]

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Work-related stress may cause workers comp claims.

Workers Comp. Benefits Awarded for Stress

Claim Scenario: Workers Comp. Benefits Awarded for Stress In a recent ruling, an employee was awarded workers comp benefits for stress. We want to share claim scenario details and court rulings as it could affect your law firm’s insurance.  The following is a recently issued ruling on work comp. A policy that awarded benefits to […]

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Employee forging a business document.

Employee Dishonesty Insurance Coverage

What is employee dishonesty insurance coverage? Employee dishonesty insurance can be one of the most important coverages firms can purchase. Why? Fraud and embezzlement instigated by employees are on the rise in the small business workplace. According, Small businesses are especially vulnerable, especially those who cannot absorb large losses or cannot afford extensive precautions and […]

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Attorney writing a contract.

Valuable Papers and Records Coverage

What is valuable papers and records coverage? Many law firms don’t realize that valuable papers and records coverage may be vital to your firm’s business operations. You may be relying less and less on hard copies of your valuable papers and records and transitioning to electronic filing instead. Even so, your hard copies still need […]

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Law firms need umbrella liability insurance.

Umbrella Liability Insurance – 5 Things to Know

Umbrella Liability Insurance – 5 Things to Know An umbrella liability policy provides an insured with an “umbrella” of liability protection over the primary liability insurance. Most umbrella insurers require you to purchase primary insurance coverage before selling you an umbrella policy, such as general liability insurance, auto liability insurance, workers compensation, or employer liability […]

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Cyber security is vital for law firms.

Cyber Security Tips for Law Firms

Cyber Security Tips for Law Firms Cyber security is becoming increasingly important as more and more businesses are attacked every day. Law firms aren’t immune so it’s important to protect your practice with insurance and proper company policies. Broadband and information technology are powerful tools for small businesses to reach new markets and increase sales […]

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EDP Insurance Coverage protects law firms

What is EDP insurance coverage?

What is EDP insurance coverage? So many law firms are computer-dependent, and EDP insurance coverage is a necessity. Rather than insuring the computers as pieces of office or manufacturing equipment, the Electronic Data Processing (EDP) form responds to the need to protect hardware, software, media, and other exposures unique to this equipment. Coverage is available […]

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First Aid Basics for Law Firms

Law Firm First Aid Basics First aid is important emergency care administered by trained individuals for an injury or sudden illness before emergency medical treatment is available. All injuries should be treated since seemingly unimportant ones, i.e., splinters or puncture wounds can result in infection. Proper first aid can also help your law firm prevent […]

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Insurance defense costs impact claim payouts.

Insurance Defense Costs

Insurance Defense Costs It’s important to understand how the defense costs work on your insurance policy because it can dramatically impact how claims are paid. Did you know that a liability policy, part of any typical business insurance policy or commercial insurance coverage, has two distinct obligations? If it is general liability, product liability, or […]

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Do law firms need workers compensation

Workers Compensation Questions

Common Workers Compensation Questions for Law Firms If you are looking to start a new law firm, you might have some workers compensation questions. Is it needed? How does the audit work? How can I minimize premiums?  Below we have put together a summary of the top worker’s compensation questions and a brief answer to […]

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Do independent contractors need workers compensation insurance?

Employee or Independent Contractor

Employee or Independent Contractor There are times when a law firm needs to hire an independent contractor. So how do you know if they should be covered on your workers compensation insurance policy? Under the Workers’ Compensation Law, most individuals providing services to a for-profit business will be deemed employees of that business. The employer […]

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Protect your law firm from employee theft.

Employee Theft – Protecting your Law Firm

Employee Theft & Employee Dishonesty is something that every law firm should be aware of. Your employees’ things may negatively affect your revenue or cause losses due to theft of money, securities, or property. This workplace crime also includes burglary and destruction. Here are five things you can do to protect your business from potential […]

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Supplemental payments for insurance policies.

Supplemental Payments for General Liability

General Liability Supplemental Payments Most liability insurance policies have clauses dealing with supplemental payments: the standard business auto policy, personal auto policy, and general liability policy all contain supplemental payments sections. The first provision in the supplemental payments clauses states that the insurer will pay the expenses it incurs. This seems reasonable since the insurer […]

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Office employees in a meeting.

Workers Compensation Savings Tips

Workers Compensation Savings Tips The following provides some workers compensation savings tips for law firms and other office-centric industries. 1. Make sure you understand the job classifications you’re claiming on your worker’s comp policy. Workers with high-risk jobs will require you to pay a higher rate for workers’ comp insurance than workers whose greatest risk […]

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Waivers of subrogation for law firms.

Waiver of Subrogation – Law Firms

Common client requests for law firms are for types of liability insurance. Clients have increasingly requested a waiver of subrogation to go along with their professional liability insurance or general liability insurance policies. So, what exactly is a waiver of subrogation? What is subrogation? In simplest terms, subrogation is when an insured party agrees to […]

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Avoiding Malpractice Claims through Time Management

Avoiding Malpractice Claims through Time Management Missed deadlines and time management-related errors are the second biggest cause of malpractice claims at all firms’ sizes.  Over the last decade, they have represented over 17 percent of all malpractice claims. The most common time-related error is a failure to know or ascertain a deadline – missing a limitation […]

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Prepare your law firm for workers comp audits.

Workers Comp Audit Resource Guide

Workers Comp Audits All workers comp policies require a premium audit at the end of each policy period.  The audit is done because your premium is actually a payroll function, meaning the higher the payroll, the more you pay in premium.  The audit will determine the difference between your estimated payroll and actual payroll, and […]

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Commercial Auto Insurance protects law firms.

Commercial Auto – Symbol 1

What are “covered auto symbols” on a commercial auto policy (BAP)? Commercial auto insurance policies protect several different parties; you, your vehicle, and others. Covered auto symbols allow you to customize the extent that liability coverage is extended to these parties. The symbol may pertain to either a kind of vehicle (i.e., private passenger) and/or […]

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Law firms should work with an admitted insurance company.

Admitted Insurance Company

Admitted Insurance Company vs. Non-Admitted Insurance Company for law firms is very specialized.  As such, we often work with both admitted insurance companies and non-admitted insurance companies. In this post, we want to discuss the difference between the two types and why this is so important to your law firms.   Admitted Insurance Carriers   […]

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Does your status with the firm affect conflict resolution.

How to avoid the “settle and sue” trend.

Settle and Sue Trend A recent trend within the legal industry is the “settle and sue” lawsuit.   A plaintiff in this type of legal-malpractice action is unhappy with settling a prior lawsuit even after the plaintiff voluntarily agreed to settle the case. In classic buyer’s remorse mode, disgruntled clients regret deciding to settle and focus their […]

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Wear and Tear Insurance Exclusions

The Wear and Tear Exclusion

What does Wear and Tear Exclusion mean? An insurance contract’s wear and tear exclusion provision states that the policy does not cover degradation from everyday, normal use. Because every property piece deteriorates over time, insurers would be too expensive to cover such losses. Insurance only covers losses due to unexpected events. Normal wear and tear […]

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Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Employment Practices Liability Insurance Did you know that according to a Jury Verdicts Research study conducted that over 40% of employers with between 15 and 100 employees will experience some discrimination claim?  Did you also know there is a 67% chance the plaintiff award will exceed $100,000? Those are some pretty harrowing statistics, and litigation […]

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Cyber Crime Insurance for Law Firms

Cyber Crime Insurance – Law Firms

Why Cyber Crime Insurance Coverage is Critical Cyber insurance is designed to protect a business when costs are incurred due to cybercrime. Business owners should note that common insurance policies such as commercial property, business income, and general liability often restrict—and in many cases exclude—cyber-related damage. Business owners beware: You should be skeptical of enhancements to […]

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Avoiding Bad Clients

Avoiding Bad Clients Bad clients can make you question your skills, destroy your reputation, and result in the worst money you have ever made.  Learning how to spot and avoid them can be the best decision you ever make. All Clients Are Created Equal, Right? No. Bad clients have an amazing way of sapping time and […]

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Umbrella Insurance protects law firms.

Law Firm Umbrella Insurance

Standard business liability coverage will take care of you in most situations, but commercial umbrella insurance will help ensure that your business is protected when serious situations arise. Learn what an umbrella policy is and how it works. What is umbrella insurance? Umbrella liability insurance protects you when accidents happen, and your existing liability insurance […]

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Controlling Law Firm Risks

Controlling Liability Risks pt. 2

Controlling Liability Risks pt. 2 Controlling liability risks for your law firm is vital to ensure you avoid unnecessary claims and litigation. You may find extensive and specific information on reducing liability risk exposures from your insurance company, trade association, and the Internet for almost any type of venture. Briefly discussed here are some areas […]

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Controlling liability risks.

Controlling Liability Risks pt.1

Controlling Liability Controlling liability risks can be tremendously important for a law firm. A person cannot prevail in a liability lawsuit against your law firm unless he or she can convince the judge, jury, or another adjudicator that you breached your legal duty to that person. Examples of such duties include: Making a reasonable effort […]

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Coverage Denial Due to Colleague’s Misrepresentations

Coverage Denial Due to Colleague’s Misrepresentations About the only thing worse than getting slapped with a malpractice suit is learning that your firm is not covered despite the professional’s belief that insurance was in place.  Consider the possibility that one of your colleagues’ actions could result in a firm-wide declination of coverage— a scary thought. […]

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Crime Insurance - Money

Money and Securities – Crime Insurance

Crime Insurance – Money & Securities Coverage Even though law firms aren’t a very cash-heavy business, that doesn’t mean they don’t have some on the premises.  Surprisingly, cash is one of the items listed as “property not covered” on the standard property policy.  Not to worry, though, there is actually a specialty policy that will […]

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Proper Client Screening

After being served with a malpractice action, attorneys will often mutter, “I knew·I shouldn’t have taken on that client.” These “problem” clients are often the result of ineffective client screening. Successful practitioners augment their “gut feelings” with standardized office-wide screening procedures. A firm-wide policy of screening each prospective client according to a predetermined set of standards […]

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Proper Record Retention

Today, most law firms live in two worlds – the world of paper client files and electronic client files.  The big issue now is how to properly conserve each file type to ensure you keep proper documentation. Paper vs. Electronic Records There is no distinction between paper and electronic record retention; the same retention period […]

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Representation May Go Farther Than You Think

Hired one thing, but then sued for another? It may be a more common problem than you think.  In a recent decision, an appellate court held that an attorney tasked with a seemingly simple and defined engagement might actually be on the hook for much more. This serves as an important reminder to effectively communicate […]

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Avoid Claims Through Improved Communication

It should be no surprise that attorney/client communication errors are the leading cause of malpractice claims.  In fact, over the last decade, more than one-third of malpractice claims are caused by some communication error. There are three types of communication-related errors. The most common is a failure to follow the client’s instructions. Often these claims arise […]

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5 Cyber Security Tips for Law Firms

Law firms are being targeted more and more for cyber attacks, as was evidenced by a recent attack on 50 prestigious law firms targeted by Russian hackers.  The targeted firms tended to be transactionally oriented; the hackers’ apparent plan was to obtain confidential, market-moving information and trade on it. To help keep your firm safe, […]

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Coverage Denials for Mixing Business and Legal Advice

Lawyers wear many hats; the key is not to wear them all simultaneously.   Many lawyers are well versed in areas outside of the law and can be sources of non-legal knowledge for clients.  However, lawyers need to be mindful when their services extend beyond the traditional landscape of legal advice.  Mixing business interests and legal […]

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Predicting changes to the law.

Predicting Law Changes

Although it is uncommon to ignore legal precedent, it does happen from time to time when it is outdated, no longer applicable or due to the political/philosophical makeup of the presiding judiciary. Also, new laws can create problems for attorneys.  When the law is clear, an attorney’s obligations are clear – he or she must […]

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Considering Client Conflicts

The Model Rules of Professional Conduct prevent lawyers from representing conflicting clients.  A conflict of interest may arise when the representation of one client is directly adverse to another client.  Just how far the requirement of “directly adverse” may extend was recently addressed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in an interesting case involving IP litigation. While one […]

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Does your status with the firm affect conflict resolution.

Does your firm status affect conflict resolution?

It is not uncommon for lawyers to have different associations with a particular firm. For example, the term “of counsel” is often used to designate a role different from the traditional partner or associate positions.   This may beg the question of what level of involvement an attorney must have to be “associated with” a particular […]

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Properly Managing Law Firm Risks

Managing Law Firm Risks

If you’re a good lawyer, you won’t get sued for malpractice, right?  This belief may be comforting, but it’s a myth. Good (and bad) lawyers get sued. There is no simple way to predict if your client will sue you for malpractice. In order to prepare for the likelihood of malpractice claims, it is necessary […]

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Understanding the applicable statute of limitations.

Understanding the Applicable Statute of Limitations

Knowing the applicable statute of limitations for your case is critical for every attorney.  In the world of legal malpractice, there are many variables in play: the jurisdiction, the facts, tolling and the extent of the underlying representation. Therefore, it’s important for attorneys to know the various nuances of the statute of limitations doctrine in […]

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lawyers insurance

Double Covered But Still Uninsured

Prudent professionals maintain different types of insurance to protect against various risks. Some typical policies for professionals may include D&O, cyber, and/or E&O policies. The foregoing policies and others may overlap, while others allow gaps for claims that would not be covered. It is incumbent upon each professional to purchase the perfect mix applicable to […]

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lawyers insurance

Emotional Distress in Malpractice Claims

Emotional distress is not uncommon in malpractice cases. Some jurisdictions have expressly permitted the recovery of such damages, while other jurisdictions don’t have any law addressing this potential area of recovery.  In the past year a few states have addressed this issue and the decisions are worth noting. Last year, the Washington Supreme Court issued […]

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lawyers insurance

Engagement Letter Defense

An engagement letter is typically a first line of defense. It clarifies obligations, scope of duties, identity of the client, billing terms and other key clauses is generally a must for most engagements. They may also include exculpatory language such as limitation of liability provisions, damages caps, or other contractual language which may aid in the defense […]

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Most Common Malpractice Claims for Attorneys

Understanding where and why claims happen can help you proactively take steps to reduce the likelihood that a claim will be made against you. So of all the malpractice errors that lawyers can commit, what is the most common one? If your answer is a failure to know or apply substantive law, you are correct. […]

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Frivolous Lawsuit Leads to Serious Damages

At one point or another, many attorneys will encounter a lawsuit they believe to be potentially frivolous. These claims often lead to frustration for the defending attorney and client who may face two difficult alternatives: (a) settle the case in order to avoid defense costs or (b) expend time and money in defending a meritless […]

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Cyber Security Best Practices

Law firms are basically the same as any other company when it comes to countering cyber attacks and protecting their confidential and proprietary data. The only difference is that law firms have ethical rules that require confidentiality of attorney-client and work product data. That does not make them special, however, because accounting firms, engineers and […]

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Partnership by Representation Concerns

It is not uncommon for attorneys to join forces to defray costs. This often means sharing office space, support staff, and equipment.  Some attorneys take this a step further, advertising themselves as a partnership even if their practices remain separate.  Such arrangements should be made with caution, however, as they may lead to vicarious liability […]

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Considerations When Changing Firms

Most attorneys don’t end their careers in the same place they started. Rather, many attorneys make a move or two which may require the transfer of files and clients. When an attorney transfers a file to a new firm, the prior firm must maintain certain ethical obligations. The lawyer must provide notice when terminating a […]

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Liable for Designated Tasks

Most professional liability cases involve an attorney’s own, direct negligence. Often, though, an attorney may be responsible for delegating tasks to others.  The question is then, can the delegating attorney avoid liability because the alleged negligence was committed by someone else? According to a recent South Carolina opinion, the answer is no. In Johnson v. Amber, […]

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Importance of Client Documentation

While it is impossible to avoid every single potential claim, there are plenty of risk management steps that can be taken to at least help defend such a suit.   One of the most important steps that can be taken is to maintain proper documentation of your communications with clients.   This becomes extremely important […]

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Dual-role Employees

A risk management position is an example of a role that, even when filled by a lawyer, frequently involves both legal and non-legal work. “Attorneys can be hired in a myriad of roles not requiring their status as attorneys,” says Richard T. Seymour, former chair of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law. When […]

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Duties to Non-clients

Most malpractice claims involve attorneys against former clients.  Typically, the client alleges that the attorney’s conduct fell below the expectations set forth in the engagement contract.  There are times, though, where non-clients sue professionals for misconduct as well.  Most attorneys are able to defend these claims through lack of privity.  However, there are exceptions to […]

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Avoiding Litigation-related Claims

Litigation errors breed the largest number of malpractice claims reported each year.  In recent years, errors arising out of litigation accounted for nearly 36% of all reported claims. In the vast majority of cases, the statute of limitation on the client’s case expired and there was nothing left to do but assess the damages. Below […]

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Blown Deadline = $850,000

Ugh…deadlines. Many classes of professionals are bound by deadlines. Attorneys are no different. Pleading requirements, discovery responses, motions, hearings and other proceedings must all be calendared to ensure that an attorney meets all deadlines. In fact, an easy path to malpractice is to miss a deadline. A recent New Jersey verdict highlights the importance of […]

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Disposing of Old Equipment

If someone gets to your information in a disposed piece of equipment, it could get really ugly really fast.  Even worse, there is a good chance the State Bar will consider this an ethics violation for failure to take proper precautions to protect client confidentiality. Malpractice claims are likely to follow suit. There are several […]

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Attorney Malpractice Statistics

Did you know that approximately 55,000 attorneys will face an allegation of Professional Liability this year?   As professional liability is our speciality, we thought we would share some insight into professional liability litigation and where your firm can help prevent it. Litigation Statistics More than 70 percent of reported claims arise from firms with […]

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The Perils of Moonlighting

Moonlighting is the practice of working for more than one employer or working for yourself while working for an employer.  Attorneys who moonlight may be asking for trouble. Many employers have policies forbidding the practice, some going so far as to deem it grounds for immediate termination. A recent case provides an extreme example of […]

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Predicting changes to the law.

No privity? No problem

In many state, privity is required in order to maintain a legal malpractice claim. In other words, the claim must be client v. former attorney “absent special circumstances.” But under what special circumstances would a court be inclined to find legal malpractice in a non-privity situation?  A case this past week shed some light on […]

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Limitation of Liability Clause

The engagement letter is a critical tool for setting expectations, managing risks, and deterring malpractice.  Unfortunately, in a recent case out of New York, the court found the engagement letter did not sufficiently limit the risk to the professional in order to avoid the malpractice claim. In the case, a bank retained its accountants to […]

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Breach of Contract vs. Tort

The professional-client relationship often begins with a retainer agreement/engagement letter: a contract that defines the terms and scope of professional services. Accordingly, when a client files suit alleging professional malpractice, the claims will generally sound in both contract and tort.  Whether a claim is asserted as a breach of contract or tort can have important implications with […]

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Does your status with the firm affect conflict resolution.

Risk Management for Law Firms

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to predict if your client will sue you for malpractice. In order to prepare for the likelihood of malpractice claims, it is necessary to actively engage in risk management. Risk management involves the use of a comprehensive risk management policy. New Clients Risk management begins as soon as a person […]

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Liability for Failure to Report Misconduct

Many professionals are bound by a code of professional conduct.  Sure, we have to play by the rules but those rules may require that we ensure others do as well. In a recent opinion, the Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Professional Conduct considered the circumstances in which an attorney is required to report rule violations by others.  […]

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Liability for Hacked Emails

Attorneys depend on third-party email services to operate their business.  As a result, they may assume vendors are safeguarding their electronic information and therefore the professional is not exposed. False. Consider an attorney sued recently for malpractice arising from an e-mail hacking scam. A New York real estate attorney‘s e-mail account was hacked recently. The attorney […]

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Thinking About Law Firm Risk Management

If you’re a good lawyer, you won’t get sued for malpractice, right?  This belief may be comforting, but it’s a myth. Good (and bad) lawyers get sued. There is no simple way to predict if your client will sue you for malpractice. In order to prepare for the likelihood of malpractice claims, it is necessary […]

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Unauthorized Legal Assistance for Family Members

Attorneys are often approached by friends and family for advice.   At times, the particular issue might not fall squarely within their area of expertise or may involve a matter outside of the jurisdiction in which they are licensed to practice. In a recent decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court took a Colorado attorney to task for the […]

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How to Avoid Employee-Related Lawsuits

Over the past few years law firms have seen a dramatic rise in employee lawsuits against their firm for claims like harassment, age discrimination, failure to promote, unlawful termination, and racial discrimination. In fact, according to the EEOC, almost 100,000 discrimination claims were filed by employees last year. Before a claimant can press a discrimination […]

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Avoid Malpractice Claims through Time Management

Missed deadlines and time management-related errors are the second biggest cause of malpractice claims at all sizes of firms.  Over the last decade, they have represented over 17 percent of all malpractice claims. The most common time-related error is a failure to know or ascertain a deadline – missing a limitation period because you didn’t know […]

Read more

Settle and Sue Trend

A recent trend within the legal industry is the “settle and sue” lawsuit.   A plaintiff in this type of legal-malpractice action is unhappy with settling a prior lawsuit even after the plaintiff voluntarily agreed to settle the case. In classic buyer’s remorse mode, disgruntled clients regret the decision to settle and focus their litigation crosshairs on […]

Read more

Avoid Malpractice Claims Through Communication

It should come as no surprise that attorney/client communication errors are the leading cause of malpractice claims.  In fact, over the last decade more than one-third of malpractice claims are caused by some sort of communication error. There are three types of communication-related errors. The most common is a failure to follow the client’s instructions. Often […]

Read more

How to Avoid Bad Clients

Bad clients can make you question your skills, destroy your reputation, and result in the worst money you have ever made.  Learning how to spot and avoid them can be the best decision you ever make. All Clients Are Created Equal, Right? No. Bad clients have an amazing way of sapping time and energy in ways […]

Read more

Coverage Denial Due to Colleague’s Misrepresentations

About the only thing worse than getting slapped with a malpractice suit is learning that your firm is not covered despite the professional’s belief that insurance was in place.  Consider the possibility that the actions of one of your colleagues could result in a firm-wide declination of coverage.  A scary thought. A recent decision demonstrates […]

Read more
Does your status with the firm affect conflict resolution.

Liability for Changes to the Law?

Although it is uncommon to ignore legal precedent, it does happen from time to time when it is outdated, no longer applicable or due to the political/philosophical makeup of the presiding judiciary. Also, new laws can create problems for attorneys.  When the law is clear, an attorney’s obligations are clear – he or she must […]

Read more

Proper Client Screening

After being served with a malpractice action, attorneys will often mutter, “I knew·I shouldn’t have taken on that client.” These “problem” clients are often the result of ineffective client screening. Successful practitioners augment their “gut feelings” with standardized office-wide screening procedures. A firm-wide policy of screening each prospective client according to a predetermined set of […]

Read more

Proper Record Retention

Most law firms today live in two worlds – the world of paper client files and the world of electronic client files.  The big issue now is how to properly conserve each file type to ensure you keep proper documentation. Paper vs. Electronic Records As far as your obligation to clients, there is no distinction […]

Read more
Predicting changes to the law.

Representation May Go Farther Than You Think

Hired one thing, but then sued for another? It may be a more common problem than you think.  In a recent decision, an appellate court held that an attorney tasked with a seemingly simple and defined engagement, may actually be on the hook for much more. This serves as an important reminder to effectively communicate […]

Read more

Cyber Security Tips for Law Firms

Law firms are being targeted more and more for cyber attacks.  As was evidenced by a recent attack on 50 prestigious law firms targeted by Russian hackers.  The targeted firms tended to be transactionally oriented; the apparent plan of the hackers was to obtain confidential, market-moving information and trade on it. To help keep you […]

Read more

Coverage Denials for Mixing Business and Legal Advice

Lawyers wear many hats; the key is not to wear them all simultaneously.   Many lawyers are well versed in areas outside of the law and can be a source of non-legal knowledge for clients.  However, lawyers need to be mindful when their services extend beyond the traditional landscape of legal advice.  Mixing business interests and […]

Read more

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