Mitigating the Risk of Professional Liability for Lawyers

Insurance for professionals who provide services to clients is essential protection that no one should be without. For example, lawyers are routinely exposed to potential errors and omissions (E&O) claims in the course of everyday operations. A client that feels that their case has been mishandled, or badly handled, can quickly become a claimant if they feel their lawyer did not properly represent them.

When a claim of professional liability for lawyers does arise, if the professional has done a good job of documenting communications with their client it can play a major role in determining the outcome. Even when a practicing attorney has done everything that can reasonably be expected of him or her, a claim can be made or a lawsuit filed even when good defenses are in place. The ultimate goal with E&O is prevention.

A good lawyer understands the importance of minimizing risk

The real task becomes minimizing risk, which includes both preventing and successfully defending against E&O claims. Because most claims are typically filed due to unmet expectations, documenting telephone calls, in-person meetings, letters and any email communications is of pivotal importance for any E&O loss prevention and mitigation program.

During the course of daily or weekly business dealings, a pattern of routine conversations and a level of trust can develop between a lawyer and their client, and as a result, it may not seem necessary to document every interaction. But when things sour between the two parties, this is where the trouble usually begins, and documentation should include all communications regarding the matter at hand, and not just those between the client and the attorney.

When there is no documentation to show what communications actually took place, each party to the conversation will, in all likelihood, recall events that favor their position. By having an email to refer back to, and providing the client with a copy of it at the time they express their dissatisfaction, or reference a request they thought that they had made, a potential E&O claim can likely be prevented, or at the very least an unfavorable judgment can be avoided.

Professional liability for lawyers provides coverage for an attorney who finds that they are embroiled in a lawsuit, regardless of whether there was any actual wrongdoing on their part. Speak to an agent about any questions or concerns regarding this important policy.

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