April Update

1st Quarter Shows Strong M&A for Law firms

Altman Weil posted its Q1 M&A report which showed that 21 firms announced a deal in the first three months of 2013.  This is compared with 14 that were announced Q2 of 2012.  The first three months of the the year showed movement by large firms including Wislon Elser and Kilpatrick Townsend.  Most acquired firms had fewer than 20 attorneys.  The Altman Weil report can be reviewed here.

Merger and acquisitions bring a heightened risk profile for law firms.  Employment practices, professional service expansion, new office spaces, and partner disputes can all lead to claims and lawsuits.  Each firm should be protected from these risks and a comprehensive insurance program review should be undertaken before a merger or acquisition is contemplated. In addition, the cost for tail/run off insurance can be negotiated in advance if a merger is imminent, waiting until the deal is announced does not leave the firm in a strong negotiating position.

Fraudulent “Silica Litigation Machine” Suit Continues

The suit against Houston plaintiff attorneys, The O’Quinn Law Firm, has been put on hold for 60 days and a request to dismiss the lawsuit was not granted. The firm was sued by 31 former clients in December.

The former clients allege malpractice for both questionable expenses and failing to process certain settlements.

The ruling on the request for dismissal is available here.

Suit over Lloyd’s Claim Denial

Los Angeles based Blum Collins LLP has brought suit against Lloyds of London for denying a pending $7M malpractice claim against the firm.

Blum Collins was sued after their client lost a lawsuit contesting the boundary of a neighbors property. A claim filed with Lloyds was denied on the basis that it was foreseeable after Blum waived the statute of limitations on a potential malpractice claim during the appeal.

The case highlights the need to carefully review the claims made triggers and exclusions of any policies and review internal reporting guidelines.  If your firm has been asked to toll or waive the statute of limitation on malpractice claims, or has knowledge of an action that might give rise to a malpractice lawsuit, this should be reported to your insurance broker.

Kansas Supreme Court Ruling Blocks Malpractice Case

The Kansas Supreme Court has issued a ruling, available here, that should give some hope to firms with heavy probate exposures. The court ruling has bared a estate administrator from bringing suit against  the lawyer who preformed the estate planning work for negligence.

As the market for legal professional liability continues to harden, firms providing estate work have been hit especially hard.

Contact ProtectLawyers.com today to discuss emerging issues and how to best protect your firm in a tightening professional liability insurance environment.