In the News

... Of Educational Interest

Continuing our commitment to helping keep our lawyer clients enlightened on subjects of interest to their law practices, we have in recent months worked with our insurance company partners and industry associations to contribute to their wide-reaching publications. For instance ,we published a topical article in the Attorney Protective Insurance Company's quarterly newsletter, the AttPro Ally. To see the article, click here: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Insurance Policy by Alton Stephens, J.D.

A more ambitious project has been our collaboration with the industry organization Agents of America and legal publisher Thompson Reuters on a series of books on Insurance Agency Risk Management, a Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claims. We contributed two chapters to the first book, and a press release regarding the book can be found HERE. The book has been approved for Continuing Education (CE) in a number of states, and a list can be found HERE. A well done power point narrative of one of our chapters in the book can be found at Documentation - The Key to E&O Management. Information on purchasing the book can be found HERE.

Most recently, we collaborated with a prominent Cleveland attorney in publishing an article in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) February 2014 newsletter. See pages 27 & 28 to read Understanding Your Professional Liability Policy: What You Need to Know.

These are a few of the kinds of things we do with our lawyer clients in mind, and as always we welcome your feedback!

Legal Ethics, Professionalism & Substance Abuse Seminars

Each year we organize a Legal Ethics, Professionalism & Substance Abuse seminar for our clients. There is no cost to our clients. Non-clients pay $100 at the seminar. Check this webpage to get information on times and locations, they will be posted soon. Invitations will be going out mid-summer. Be sure to return these early, space is limited. If you are not a client and would like to attend any one of these seminars, complete the trial application on this website to obtain a quote and the fee for the seminar will be waived. Hope to see you there!!

Supreme Court Rules on Lawyer Professional Liability Insurance

It's as good a time as any for Ohio lawyers to refresh themselves on their obligations imposed by the Supreme Court of Ohio to carry legal professional liability insurance. Preliminarily, lawyers should keep in mind that the rules are different for solo practitioners than they are for law firms. The rules for solo practitioners are found in the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and for law firms in the Ohio Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio.

Considering solo practitioners first, the applicable rule is Rule 1.4(c) of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. The Rule, headed "Communication", at Rule 1.4(c), reads:

(c) A lawyers shall inform a client ... if the lawyer does not maintain professional liability insurance in the amounts of at least one hundred thousand dollars per occurrence and three hundred thousand dollars in the aggregate ...,

The form of the written client notification is specifically dictated in the Rule and requires a signed client acknowledgment to be maintained in the client's file.

The rule governing law firms is in the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar, at Gov Bar R III, Section 4, Financial Responsibility, as follows:

(A) A [law firm] shall maintain adequate professional liability insurance ... for any liability of the firm arising from any acts or omissions by [a member of the firm].

(1) "Adequate professional liability insurance" means ... professional liability insurance ...

  1. in an amount for each claim ... of at least fifty thousand dollars multiplied by the number of attorneys practicing with the firm, and
  2. an amount of one hundred thousand dollars [in the aggregate] multiplied by the number of the lawyers in the firm.

The rule governing solo practitioners is thus one of communication, while the rule governing law firms is one of financial responsibility mandating maintenance of "adequate professional liability insurance" without regard to communication to the client. The bottom line is simply this: solo lawyers should and law firms are required to carry professional liability insurance in at least the prescribed amounts. Those who don't risk serious consequences.