In Brief: Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance
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The adage “You can be sued for ANYTHING these days” may be all too familiar for Canadian attorneys. Unfortunately, many in-house attorneys fail to purchase lawyers professional liability insurance to protect themselves against potential lawsuits. Even though most claims are brought on by clients, employed lawyers can also be subject to suits from third parties, such as employees, shareholders, government agencies, and other entities.
5 Common Risks Facing In-House Lawyers
- Lawyers at private companies face exposures when performing contract negotiations, giving advice to Human Resources professionals, assisting with mergers, reviewing contractual language, etc.
- Since electronic information is discoverable, it must be stored and preserved just like paper documents once were. In-house lawyers should work with IT professionals to ensure compliance with this rule.
- Clients may sue over a contract that did not work in their favour which the attorney had a hand in writing.
- A terminated employee may sue the employer and name the attorney for negligence.
- Lawyers are at risk when performing moonlighting services or pro-bono work.
Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance Coverage
A typical lawyers professional liability insurance policy may feature the following:
- Protection from demands, suits or proceedings for damages or injunctive relief.
- Policy may be written as either a “claims made” or “claims made and reported” and on a “duty to defend” or “non-duty to defend” basis.
- Responds to licensing proceedings for in-house attorneys to practice law.
- It provides defence against claims alleging wrongful acts. Wrongful acts and claim definitions are expanded and broad.
- Extends to pro-bono or moonlighting work done by in-house lawyers.
- Includes full-time on-staff attorneys and contract and independent contract lawyers and support staff members.
- Advance of defence costs, even if allegations are found to be groundless.
- Coverage extends globally.
- Coverage for non-client claims.
- Coverage for regulatory claims.
- Punitive damages coverage.
- Covers claims from coworkers that arise out of the attorney’s work at the organization.
- Covers costs for claims brought by the employer, board of directors, and officers.
Talk To Us About Your Professional Liability Options
To learn more about excess lawyers professional liability, talk to an ALIGNED advocate today about how we can help you secure the best insurance products, services, and solutions. Wherever you are located, we can help you get an insurance quote that delivers more value and options.
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Sources: Adapted from Coverage Insights © 2011-13 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. This Coverage Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.