Avoiding Legal Malpractice 2020-2021

The PBA Professional Liability Committee is charged with conducting legal malpractice avoidance and loss-prevention programs. The Avoiding Legal Malpractice seminars are a benefit provided to all counties each year. With the Pennsylvania Bar Association Insurance Program, advised and administered by USI Affinity, you have the ability to gain valuable malpractice avoidance information, receive up to a 7.5% discount* on your malpractice insurance and earn up to 1.5 hours of ethics, professionalism, or substance abuse CLE credit. (*The 7.5% credit will be pro-rated based on the number of attorneys in the firm who attend the seminar. The discount does not apply to part-time policies.)

PBA Endorsed (CNA) Claims Repair Hotline 888.200.5212

The Pennsylvania Bar Insurance Program with USI Affinity
USI Affinity – Watch this brief video to learn why engagement letters are so important and how you can receive a 50% reduction in your deductible, up to a maximum of $25,000, by using a proper engagement letter in connection with the legal services that are the subject of the claim.
CNA Lawyers Professional Liability Program Policy Highlights
CNA Lawyer’s Toolkit 4.0

Resources from CNA and USI Affinity to Help Law Firms with Professional Liability and Risk Management Issues related to COVID-19

This year’s vignettes

I Will Never Be Sued

Note Pages/Slides for lawyers attending the program. This document is provided for those who choose to print materials to bring to the program or to download the document to your laptop or tablet.  Please note, the PBA will not print or handout these materials at the program. (42 pages)

Ethical Obligations for Lawyers Working Remotely, PBA Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Formal Opinion 2020-300 April 10, 2020

Supporting Materials for this year’s vignettes

Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination, Proposed Amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct Relating to Misconduct PA, RPC 8.4(g)

Client Intake Best Practices, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Client Sex: Usually Unethical, Never and Good Idea, ABA Special Report, ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct - ISSN 0740-4050, 2-10-16

Declining and Firing Clients, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Fee Division with Client’s Prior Counsel, ABA Formal Opinion 487

The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, August 2017

Ten Tips to Assist in Avoiding a Malpractice Claim, CNA

Client Files

Client Files – Rights of Access, Possession and Copying, Along with Retention Consideration, PBA Formal Opinion 2007-100

Creating a File Retention and Destruction Policy, CNA

It s Not Your File Actually It Is Your Client's File -The Legal Intelligencer 092217

Obligations Upon Receiving a Subpoena or Other Compulsory Process for Client Documents or Information, ABA Formal Opinion 473

Communication with Clients

A Lawyer’s Duty to Inform a Current or Former Client of the Lawyer’s Material Error, ABA Formal Opinion 481

Lawyer Error - Communication with Clients - ABA Special Report (1 page), ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct –ISSN 0740-4050, 9-21-16

What To Tell the Client When You Seek Other Counsel Because You Suspect You May Have Committed Malpractice, PBA Bar News article by Jeffrey P. Lewis


Maintaining your Conflict of Interest System, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Duty to Supervise

Ethical Consideration in the Use Nonlawyer Assistants, PBA Formal Opinion 98-75

Law Firm Support Staff Recognizing Their Role in Avoiding Legal Malpractice Claims, CNA

Engagement Agreement

Better with a Letter: Why Attorneys Should Use Engagement Letters, CNA

Lawyers Toolkit 4.0: A Guide to Managing the Attorney-Client Relationship, CNA

Start the Attorney-Client Relationship Right (Engagement Agreement), Voices and Views 2015

Succession Planning

Closing a Firm: Problems that Many Don’t Anticipate, PBA Law Practice Management

Closing your Practice, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Expect the Unexpected: Succession Planning for Lawyers, CNA

Life Is Too Short, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Musical Chairs and Retirement Policies, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Protecting your Practice: Preparing for Disability, Death or Retirement, PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Responsible Succession Planning: Ethically Planning for Death & Disability, The Philadelphia Lawyer, Daniel J. Siegel

Retiring from Practice: Understanding your Options, CNA

Succession Planning – Is It Mandatory for Lawyers in Pennsylvania, PA Disciplinary Board 02-11-19

What’s your Exit Strategy? , PBA Law Practice Management article by Ellen Freedman

Wills, Trusts and Estates

Lawyer Serving as Fiduciary for an Estate or Trust, ABA Formal Opinion 02-426

Wills, Trusts and Estates - Professional Liability Fact Sheet, CNA

PBA members who have a question related to ethics, professionalism or the business side of practicing law have access to our full-time ethics counsel and law practice management coordinator, as well as online resources.
Ethics Hotline: 800.932.0311 ext. 2214
Law Practice Management: 800.932.0311 ext. 2228

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Pennsylvania’s lawyers are not immune from substance abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, problem or compulsive gambling, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, etc. Whether you are worried about your own well-being or that of a member of your family, a colleague, a judge or a law school student, LCL can help. LCL’s Confidential Helpline is answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your call is confidential. 1-888-999-1941.

To learn more about LCL services and how this information can save your life or the life of someone you know, watch this video and review the LCL brochure for an explanation of the resources and how to access the help that is available. It’s Free and Confidential.

100 South Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: 800-932-0311

Western Pennsylvania Office:

Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Avenue, Suite 760
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Phone: 412-914-8840