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Does the Statute of Limitations Ever Apply in Legal Malpractice?

That’s the question on the minds of many in the legal malpractice community after a noteworthy decision in Pennsylvania.  

It’s probably reasonable to assume — at least from the defense standpoint — that the success rate of a statute of limitations (SOL) defense to a legal malpractice claim is virtually zero. This may be more so in some jurisdictions, especially those that permit a litigant to pursue tort as well as a breach of contract theory in these scenarios.

A dual theory approach may …

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Use of AI Results in Attorney Suspension

The practice of law is not one-size-fits-all. For better or worse, attorneys are generally free to conduct their business as they see fit: working from home, in a traditional office, in large firms, solo practitioners, different practice areas, and different tools. We are guided by certain rules, of course, including the obligation to represent clients competently through technological familiarity. For those who had yet to do so before, we shifted to a remote environment during COVID-19, which forced firms to implement immediate work-from-home mandates and …

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Businessman holding files against his suit

Representation without Representation?

The Pennsylvania Office of Disciplinary Counsel has accused a Philadelphia attorney of initiating a high-profile lawsuit without client authorization.

Reportedly, the attorney filed suit on behalf of the father of a deceased boy who was killed by a Philadelphia police officer. However, according to the Disciplinary Board, counsel was never engaged for that purpose.

In the petition [HERE], the board alleges that counsel never met, nor spoke, with his purported client prior to filing. It is an uncomfortable situation that brings up some …

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Seth Laver Provides Guidance on Properly Closing a File with Attorney Protective

Goldberg Segalla’s Seth L. Laver, in an article written for Attorney Protective, provides insight to attorneys on proper case-closing procedures.

“Best practices mandate that all professionals, notably attorneys, engage in a series of important tasks when closing a file,” said Seth, a partner in the firm’s Management and Professional Liability practice and vice-chair of its Accountants Professional Liability practice.

“Poor practices at the end of an assignment,” he added, “can lead to conflicts issues, document retention woes, client confusion or worse.”

An effective …

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Client Cleared of Malpractice, Wins Summary-Judgment Ruling

A Pennsylvania attorney sued in connection with a workers’ compensation matter was cleared of legal malpractice and the suit against him was dismissed after a court agreed with the arguments put forth by Goldberg Segalla partner Seth L. Laver.

The case stemmed from the alleged injuries suffered by a hotel banquet worker who claimed his decade-plus career resulted in cumulative trauma to his back. The claimant eventually underwent surgery from which he sustained a serious infection, leading to a lengthy hospital stay.

Central to …

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Pre-Employment Testing for Marijuana?

In May 2019, Section 8-107 of title 8 of the NYC admin code was amended to make it unlawful for an employer and others to test for marijuana or THC as a condition of employment.  This law becomes effective May 10, 2020.  The NYC Commission on Human Rights is promulgating rules for the implementation of this law. There was a public hearing on Jan. 9, 2020 concerning potential exceptions to the general prohibition on pre-employment testing to which written testimony by interested parties was submitted.  There …

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Law Firms (and Client Data) Held Hostage

Hackers have successfully hit at least five United States law firms within the past few weeks. Reportedly, the attacks are part of a coordinated effort potentially affecting nearly 200 victims in January alone. As if that were not frightening enough, the threat to law firms and to their clients, has magnified substantially in light of the type of attack now employed against law firms.

Rather than delivering a ransom note to the infected system and waiting for payment, the recent hackers are publishing the victim’s …

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You Dropped the Ball: Now What?

There are so many risk management sources, theories, and tips for the practitioner seeking to avoid a malpractice claim. But, there is less direction available to the professional that does make a mistake and knows about it. What are the obligations to the client, to the carrier, to others once we discover that we’ve dropped the ball? Are there implications on the statute of limitations? The South Dakota Supreme Court addressed these questions in a recent decision.

In the decision, available here, the court …

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Coverage Denied for Attorney Seeking Fee

At its simplest and most basic level, a professional malpractice policy for an attorney serves to insure against claims of malpractice. The devil is in the details, of course. In a recent decision, the Second Circuit affirmed a decision denying coverage to an attorney involved in a dispute over collection of his legal fee. The decision provides an interesting coverage lesson as well as a lesson about the sensitive nature of seeking to collect on a disputed fee.

In Continental Cas. Co. v. Parnoff, …

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