13
Dec
10

The End Of The Lefkowitz Series On Client Service And Claim Avoidance

This is the last in a five-part series written by David Lefkowitz of The Lefkowitz Firm, LLC.  David recently wrote a column for the Fulton County Daily Report (subscription required) on ways attorneys could improve customer service and avoid claims.  On this subject, David’s advice is worth listening to.  Why?  Because David is one of the top attorneys in Georgia that focuses his practice on suing lawyers.  Thus, when David offers advice on claim avoidance, you should listen.  When he offers advice on how to be popular at bar functions, maybe not.

Buy Insurance – by David Lefkowitz

I can read your mind: Here’s the self-interested legal malpractice lawyer trying to convince everyone that they should have insurance. The unbiased fact is that errors and omissions insurance can protect your personal assets and provide the funds necessary to compensate a client who claims you committed an error. Not only does it help to preserve your personal assets (like an LLP), but rather than (or in addition to) shielding your assets from a client, it provides funds from which a damaged client may recover. It’s nice to take care of your clients, don’t you agree?

The insurance will also provide you with an attorney to defend a claim. Errors and omissions insurance is not required in Georgia, and it always astonishes me how many lawyers choose to be uninsured, including prominent lawyers in the public eye. The business decision not to carry insurance is, in my view, a cavalier way to practice law.

Some attorneys believe the urban legend that uninsured lawyers won’t be sued. This is not true. Some other attorneys believe that insurance is too expensive. Well, insurance is always too expensive…until you need it. Protect yourself and protect your client; buy insurance.

And let me add this: if you are going to have insurance, be sure to communicate honestly with the carrier in the application process and the annual renewal process. If you fail to answer the underwriting questions honestly, you risk waiving coverage for a claim. You also will have a contractual obligation to promptly report errors which could give rise to a claim. Fulfill this requirement, as insurers are quick to challenge coverage for claims that are reported late.

____________________________________________________________________

I want to thank David Lefkowitz for sharing his article with the audience here at Attorney Defender. 

Attorney Defender has published a series of posts on the subject of attorney errors and omissions insurance.  Those posts, available here, here and here, also provide valuable advice and information on obtaining and getting the benefit of an attorney E&O policy. 

David’s statement that uninsured attorneys still get sued is very true.  I have represented several uninsured attorneys in civil claims.  Some chose not to buy insurance, and others failed to report claims timely to ensure that their insurance would provide coverage.  Don’t fall into either category.  Get a quality E&O policy, and make sure you take care to accurately complete your application/renewal forms and timely report claims and potential claims.

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