For more practical tips on how to avoid professional liability, join Paul Troy for a one-hour webinar on Thursday, May 21.
We all know there are many more pieces to effectively manage professional liability dangers, but here are five malpractice risks that are often overlooked by law firms, as well as tips on how to avoid them:
- Engagement Letters — Use engagement letters on every case, even if you have represented the client in multiple matters. Unless we make clear who is not our client, we put ourselves in jeopardy of being sued by someone we never intended to represent, but who believe they are our clients. Also, we must explain in writing what we have and have not agreed to do, otherwise we run the risk of being sued for issues we never thought we undertook.
- Disengagement Letters — Use disengagement letters whenever you decline representation. Sending a disengagement letter can be the best way to avoid potential conflicts and other problems with “would-be” clients.
- Use Written Communication with Clients — Memorialize your advice to clients in a written communication to them. Check out this LinkedIn article which details why this is an important step in avoiding a claim.
- Client Expectations — Try to control client expectations, and memorialize your communications with them regarding expectations. See these tips for how you can start managing your client expectations today.
- Meet Deadlines — The best system for meeting deadlines is the one that you pay attention to every day. Whether it is a book, a white board, or a computer, the key is that it be whatever system you use regularly. Need help managing deadlines? There are lots of great online tools and apps that can help you stay on track and minimize professional liability issues. Check out apps like TickTick or Next Deadline to help you manage your timely tasks. Prefer to stick with Outlook? Read this article to learn some of the ways Outlook can meet your deadline management needs.
Recognizing your firm’s professional liability exposures isn’t always clear. But if you take the time to follow these best practices, you’re assisting your firm in better managing its risk.
About Paul C. Troy, Esq.
Mr. Troy joined the law firm of Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer, LLP in 1991. He is a trial lawyer who defends lawyers, doctors, and other professionals in professional liability litigation. He has tried over 100 cases to verdict. Mr. Troy is a graduate of the Dickinson School of Law and was a law clerk to the Honorable Albert R. Subers in Montgomery County before entering private practice. Mr. Troy is a past President of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He has also served two terms on the Pennsylvania Bar Association Board of Governors, having served as Chair of the Young Lawyers Division and later as Chair of the House of Delegates. He has previously served as either Chair or Vice-Chair of the PBA Health Care Law Committee from 2000 until 2010. Mr. Troy served as President of the Montgomery Bar Association in 2013. He is also a past President of the Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Section.