Law Firm Policies
A law firm should have a policy or procedure in place regarding mistakes made in client matters, either by a lawyer or by staff.
The policy should include a requirement that serious mistakes be reported
internally as soon as they are discovered to ensure maximum opportunity for
correction. For example, a mortgage recorded in the wrong county is not a
problem until the debtor fails to make timely payments; insufficient service of
process can be remedied as long as the statute of limitations has not expired.
If possible, a non-involved lawyer should look at the situation with “fresh eyes” to analyze repair possibilities, liability exposure, potential damages and insurance coverage sufficiency.
The professional liability carrier should be notified as soon as possible to preserve coverage as well as maximize any possible repair opportunities.
The client’s file should be organized, reviewed and copied.
Careful consideration needs to be given regarding what to tell the client. If time allows, consult with the carrier’s adjuster. If ethical issues exist, contact the State Bar Ethics Hotline.
Now that you know more than the average lawyer about malpractice insurance policies, let’s put your knowledge to good use.