Selecting Legal Malpractice Insurance by qyj20363


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                         AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
                          STANDING COMMITTEE ON


The Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability seeks to: identify the causes
of malpractice claims; provide resources to the legal profession and the insurance
industry on developments in the legal malpractice field; design and encourage the
implementation of malpractice prevention programs; educate the insurance industry and
the legal profession about the relationship between the operational aspects of law
practice and the underwriting of legal malpractice insurance; and encourage a
responsible approach to increasing the availability of malpractice insurance at the state
and local bar level.

The Committee sponsors two National Legal Malpractice Conferences each year. The
Spring 2007 Conference in Washington, DC was attended by more than 500 individuals,
including insurance company representatives, ethics experts, and defense and plaintiff
counsel. The Spring 2007 Conference featured sessions on law management liability,
informed consent, settlement-related liability, survey of recent ethics opinions,
managing expert witnesses; liability exposure related to electronic data loss, and
perspectives of plaintiffs’ counsel on legal malpractice litigation. The Spring 2007
Conference was co-sponsored by the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, the
Law Practice Management Section and the Litigation Section.

State bar association lawyer professional liability insurance committee chairs met in
conjunction with the Spring 2007 National Legal Malpractice Conference. This meeting
keeps all chairs advised of developments in the insurance industry that may influence
availability of lawyer professional liability insurance.

The Fall 2007 National Legal Malpractice Conference will be held at The Westin
Kierland Resort, Scottsdale, AZ, on September 19-21, 2007. The conference will have
an emphasis on lawyer liability risks associated with critical communications.

The Committee continues to monitor the legal malpractice insurance market. A
subcommittee monitors the softening of the most recent hard market cycle, and general
availability of professional liability insurance.

Many lawyers have questions about legal malpractice insurance: how it works, where it
can be purchased, and how they can be sure they receive the coverage they need at a
commercially feasible cost. Therefore, the Committee sponsors the Legal Malpractice
Insurance Hotline, a telephone-based technical assistance service. Callers receive
information on where they can obtain legal malpractice insurance for their particular
needs; what they need to know before they choose a legal malpractice insurance
company; what to be aware of when they read a legal malpractice insurance policy; and
how to incorporate basic risk management techniques into their practices.
     The Committee offers an annually updated directory entitled “Selecting Legal
     Malpractice Insurance” which includes information on insurers on a state-by-state basis,
     articles on various aspects of legal malpractice insurance, an analysis of key
     components of insurance policies, and a checklist for selecting legal malpractice
     policies. The 2007 edition has been released. The Committee’s website contains an
     electronic version of this same information at

     The Committee conducts the only national data collection study of the incidence of legal
     malpractice claims. The most recent study results were published in Profile of Legal
     Malpractice Claims: 2000-2003. This report is widely disseminated within the insurance
     industry and the profession and serves as a resource for discussion of marketplace
     trends and for design of loss prevention programs. Planning is now underway for the
     next data collection cycle which will cover the period 2004-2006.

     The National Legal Malpractice Data Center (NLMDC) is an ongoing project sponsored
     by the Committee that brings together leaders in the legal malpractice field, including
     lawyers, law firms, insurance company executives, underwriters, brokers, and agents.
     The NLMDC has a current total of 263 subscriptions divided into: 73 individual
     subscriptions; 151 site subscriptions; and 39 institutional subscriptions. Individual
     subscribers receive a non-transferable benefit of free attendance at each of the two
     conferences; site subscriptions carry a benefit of two attendees per the specific
     subscriber site to each of the two conferences; and institutional subscribers receive a
     benefit of two attendees per each conference from any subscriber site.

     The Committee continues its eMembership feature for Associates of the NLMDC. This
     “members’-only” subscription site features newsflash items of interest, a compendium of
     professional liability knowledge and insurance-specific information, links and two
     electronic newsletters – the monthly LPL eAdvisory and the LPL eAdvisory NewsFlash.
     Currently the eMembership has 53 stand-alone subscribers in addition to 451 more who
     receive it as a benefit of their site, individual or associate membership.

     The Committee produces the bi-annual LPL Advisory, a print newsletter geared toward
     the insurance industry and defense counsel. It offers articles on legal malpractice cases
     and trends, and information on Standing Committee products and services.

     Respectfully submitted,

     Ben H. Hill III, Chair
     August 2007


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