Due to an influx in malpractice suits, stemming from an increasingly unsteady economy and other factors (such as the use of contract work to junior-level staff), it’s important for law practices to have a solid insurance program in place to protect against suits. Professional Services E&O coverage provided to your law firm clients is a viable solution for practices finding that they need to build an expensive defense when faced with lawsuits from dissatisfied clients.
In addition, a solid risk management strategy needs to be put in place to prevent lawsuits in the first place. Here are some tips you can provide to your clients to help them reduce their exposure and prevent a lawsuit:
- Keep the line of communication open with your clients and send them regular reports in writing that clearly states the progress of the case and any significant issue and strategy decision.
- Document all pleadings, discovery items, and depositions sent to your client. This will serve you well if you have to testify that you did indeed send certain documents to your client or advised him or her of specific issues.
- Be sure your bills are itemized in as much detail as possible. Outline in your bills meeting dates, dates of phone conversations, when pleadings were prepared, and research was done.
- Apprise your client of any applicable statute of limitations. By not doing so, you are failing to communicate with the client. In fact, this is the second most common form of legal malpractice. If a potential client discusses a claim with you, immediately determine the applicable statute of limitations. If you decide to proceed with the case, mark the dates on your calendar. If you turn down the case, notify the client in writing that you won’t be representing him or her, but be sure to advise the client of the applicable statute of limitations and that the claim must be filed within the specified time.
- Be sure all claims are sent to insurance companies, when applicable. If your client is being sued, be sure that the insurance carrier that provides coverage for the claim is notified.
- Evaluate and recommend a settlement, if applicable. Under an attorney’s standard of care, a client should be advised about settlement options. If the client is interested in settlement, you should pursue this option.
Your law firm clients have their own clients who trust that they can handle all of the intricate workings of the legal system, from building a case with a solid foundation, to handling contracts and other important aspects in which they specialize. With such enormous responsibility comes great risk. Caitlin-Morgan provides a Professional Services Errors & Omissions Insurance package for laws firm or any other type of professional practice. Give us a call at 877.226.1027 to find out how we can help you protect your clients.