Attorneys in the US often find themselves on the front line and therefore are likely to face an allegation of professional liability at any given time. Claims against attorneys have seen a steady increased during the past two decades, and lawyers all over the country, in all size firms and in all areas of practice tend to be at risk every year.
The cost of a professional liability claim can be quite expensive. Even if a lawyer is ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, the money spent on defense, (not to mention the hours of time devoted to addressing the claim) can be a very costly proposition.
Attorneys Professional Liability Insurance helps to ease that burden by sharing some of the monetary risks involved, as well as by assuming much of the responsibility for responding to, and defending against such claims. This coverage can also help to protect your clients against significant losses, accomplished by aiding lawyers in meeting their obligations to protect their clients’ interests during difficult times.
Some common causes of professional liability claims
Probably the most common claims brought against lawyers involve allegations of simple mistakes, for example, administrative errors or substantive errors of law. Many claims allege that the lawyer either completely abandoned a representation, or in some way failed to address the client’s needs.
Increasingly, lawyers face suits citing breach of fiduciary duty, often brought about because of a conflict of interest, and frequently based in duties arising through implication. Another common scenario is that in which claims are made as a result of fees suits brought against clients.
Risks typically covered by lawyers’ professional liability insurance
Attorneys Professional Liability Insurance policies are generally designed to provide coverage for claims that arise from “wrongful acts” committed in the rendering of legal services in the capacity as a lawyer and generally provide both indemnification coverage and claims expense coverage, subject to specified deductibles and endorsements.
Covered acts usually include those committed in a variety of ancillary services regularly provided by lawyers as a natural offshoot of their regular practices, including:
- Services as a notary public
- Services as a title agent and or title agency
- Acting as a trustee or executor of an estate in connection with representation of a client, or
- Acting as an officer, director, or member of a legal professional association
Invite your clients to address their concerns and advise them on which liability policy and just how much coverage might be right for them.