Attorneys, even those at the top of their game, are at constant risk for alleged malpractice or errors and omissions claims any time a client disagrees with an outcome, making a Lawyers Professional Liability (LPL) policy one of the first insurance products law firms should purchase. LPL insurance assists attorneys and firms in covering legal defense costs and expenses as well as with damages and settlements.
Why LPL Insurance is a Must-Have
When it comes to legal malpractice errors, conflict of interest is the leading cause of claims, followed by failure to file in a timely manner, date-related errors and failure to know the law. A roundup of common errors includes:
- Conflicts of interest
- Poor or incomplete documentation engagement scope
- Deadline errors – unaware of jurisdictional differences of key dates
- Failure to understand the law
- Simple drafting errors
- Failure to supervise – young colleagues preparing and filing documents without partner review
- Poor client communication resulting in misunderstanding of scope of engagement and expectations
- Failure to properly counsel a litigation client about the risk of going to trial in writing
- Defense errors – trial strategy error, failure to call an expert, failure to make appropriate argument regarding damages, failure to settle case
RPS Offers New LPL Program
RPS's new LPL insurance program is ready and waiting to respond to a law firm's exposure. Our program is available through our e-commerce site or via our standard underwriting process, depending on the size of the law firm. The program is written on an admitted basis and is currently available in 30 states. Over the next few months, it will be available in all states except Alaska.
"Brokers can use our e-commerce site to easily quote, bind and issue LPL policies on accounts with firms of one to five attorneys," explains Adrienne Woodhull, RPS Area President. "For policy quotes on accounts with six to 50 attorneys, brokers can simply submit an application to our LPL team."
The policy is written on a claims-made and reported-form basis and offers limits as low as $100,000 and up to $5 million. In addition, RPS's LPL program highlights include:
- A broad definition of insured: The policy takes into account the different professional services provided by law firms and covers attorneys, mediators, arbitrators, trustees, conservators, guardians, title agents and notary publics, among others.
- Broad predecessor firm definition: Covers the named insured's liability in prior law firms.
- Aggregated annual deductible available
- First-dollar defense option available
- Relaxed consent to settle clause 50/50: Should an insured decline a claims settlement offer and the ultimate award or settlement is higher, the policy will pay up to 50% of the difference between the final amount and the proposed settlement. This is in addition to the proposed settlement amount.
There are several supplemental payment options available in addition to the policy limits and without a deductible:
- Disciplinary matters
- Loss of earnings
- Subpoena assistance
- Rule 11 awards
- Pre-claim assistance
RPS can provide defense coverage outside the liability limits for an additional premium.
"A loyalty discount is available for insureds who have been with the carrier for more than four consecutive years," adds Woodhull. "For long-term clients, if an insured closes his or her firm and wants to extend the reporting period, we offer a 50% discount."