Why Carry Attorney Professional Liability Insurance

Attorney Professional Liability

It is the job of any lawyer to provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for any representation in a court of law. This simply means that no lawyer should attempt to handle a legal matter that he or she knows (or should know) that they are not competent to handle, except in those cases where they are associating with a lawyer deemed competent to handle the matter.


A client who is particularly dissatisfied with the way their case is being handled, coupled with the likelihood that such matters can easily become costly judgments against that same client, could rectify the situation by suing their own attorney, which shows another example for the need for attorney professional liability insurance.


Prime example of an issue that could lead to a rift between clients and their attorneys


For example, a motion for discovery sanctions can introduce adversity into an otherwise harmonious attorney-client relationship. This may raise the issue of whether the attorney or the client was at fault for the discovery violation. The client may then blame the lawyer for failing to properly survey the landscape of potentially discoverable material.


On the other hand, the attorney may blame the client for improperly informing the attorney that a litigation hold has been implemented. In either case, failure to comply with discovery obligations presents a range of adverse consequences for a civil litigant, including a possible dismissal.


In addition, a lawyer shall not intentionally fail to seek the objectives of the client through reasonably available means permitted by law, or prejudice or damage the client during the course of the representation, except as permitted or required by certain governing rules. A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation and, as required by rule shall consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued.


A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision whether to settle a matter. In a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client’s decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial and whether or not the client will testify.


Failure to abide by a client’s wishes will ultimately pit the attorney against the very person they were hired to defend. To avoid uncertainty, lawyers should always consult with their clients on every matter and carry attorney liability insurance for those times when issues arise.


photo credit: Kaptain Kobold cc