Professional Liability Defense
With nearly 30 years' experience representing lawyers in legal malpractice cases at the trial and appellate levels, we are well equipped to handle the gamut of claims against lawyers, regardless of the complexity of the underlying matter. Our experience includes defending lawsuits in claims arising out of patent, trademark and copyright matters, as well as bankruptcy, banking, cyber and check fraud, and regulatory matters. Moreover, because we are also experienced insurance coverage attorneys, we understand the intricacies of the "tripartite relationship" and its attendant potential conflicts between insurer and insured.
A malpractice policy is more than just coverage for a claim – it pays for a lawyer to defend the claim in the first place. While the carrier will typically appoint defense counsel from a list of “panel counsel,” certain cases may call for defense lawyers with particular skill and expertise that may not be available from the insurer’s panel members (defense of patent malpractice cases, for instance). The insured is always entitled to request the appointment of a particular attorney or firm with such skill and experience, even if they are not members of the insurer's "panel" of defense counsel. In addition, insureds who are offered a defense under a “reservation of rights,” may want to hire independent counsel to advise or represent them, in addition to counsel appointed by the carrier.
The legal malpractice cases we have litigated include Shipman v. Kruck, 593 S.E.2d 319 (Va. 2004), the leading case in Virginia on when a legal malpractice claim accrues for statute of limitation purposes, and Laios v. Wasylik, 564 F. Supp. 2d 538 (E.D.Va. 2008), a case rejecting a client’s argument that certain correspondence constituted a written contract in an attempt to invoke Virginia’s five year statute of limitations for written contracts.