National Legal Malpractice Conference


This  event offers you the profession's best programming on legal malpractice issues,  developments and trending topics. We also have unparalleled networking  opportunities with legal practitioners from across the United States. Event attendance can are expected to earn you 7.25 CLE credit hours (including 2.0 ethics hours) in 60-minute states, and 8.7 credit hours (including 2.4 ethics hours) in 50-minute states.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

8:45—9:45 a.m.

Plenary Session 1
A Conversation with Rabia Chaudry
Attorney Rabia Chaudry is best known as the public advocate of Adnan Syed, the alleged wrongfully convicted man at the center of one the most popular podcasts in history, Serial: Season One, author of New York Times bestseller, Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice after Serial and Executive Producer of the HBO documentary series, The Case Against Adnan Syed. Following the success of Serial, Rabia was inspired to continue investigating wrongful convictions and the U.S. criminal justice system, which gave birth to Undisclosed, the podcast which she is the co-host and co-producer. From her experiences as public advocate for Adnan and investigations in Undisclosed, Rabia takes the stage to discuss the biggest hurdles for attorneys to provide zealous representation in the criminal justice system. Melissa Lessell will be participating in a fireside chat style conversation with Rabia on the law, including ethical and other unexpected challenges she has faced from other attorneys while confronting the issues within our legal system.

Rabia Chaudry, Attorney and Producer/Host of podcast Undisclosed, Washington, DC
Melissa Lessell, Partner, Deutsh Kerrigan, New Orleans, LA

10:00—11:15 a.m.

Plenary Session 2
Defending Mentally Impaired Lawyers
We have all seen too many of these claims. The toughest lawyers to defend are those suffering from some sort of mental impairment. The impairment may simply be a reaction to the stress of a malpractice claim, but it could also be the reason the claim exists. Impaired defendants can yield a catastrophic result at trial and may also make it impossible to resolve a case pretrial. This panel brings together experienced defense counsel, claims professionals, jury consultants, and mental health professionals to help you better handle your most difficult and dangerous claims. While impaired lawyers may seem to present insurmountable problems, our panel will show you how to: spot mental health issues early; utilize tried and true methods of ameliorating the issues impact on your case; help the lawyer make good case decisions and survive the claim’s pressures; and best enable the defendant lawyer to present well at deposition and at trial.

Deborah Corbishley, Shareholder, Kenny Nachwalter, Miami, FL
Dan Wolfe, Senior Vice President, DecisionQuest, Chicago, IL
Sean Ginty, Risk Control Consulting Director, CNA, Chicago, IL (Moderator)

11:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout 1
State of Insurance Market
What is on the LPL insurers minds as we finish out the decade with a slew of big legal malpractice claims; a surge in big natural catastrophes; continued market consolidation; an increase in law firm mergers coupled with an aging lawyers' population? What is the market doing to mitigate these risks? What does the consolidation in the insurance marketplace mean to insurers and to their insureds? What are the new risks exposures insurers are providing coverage for? The expert panel will address these issues and more and provide some keen expertise on the direction of the market as we begin the end of the decade.

Jennifer Becker, Account Executive Officer, Travelers Insurance, New York, NY
Dennis Mullins, Principal, Huntersure LLC, Garden City, NY
Stuart Pattison, Senior Vice President, Sompo International, New York, NY

Breakout 2
Coming in From the Bullpen—How to Reduce the Risks When Defense Counsel is Replaced
When things go awry in baseball, the manager brings in a relief pitcher. When the same happens in a lawsuit, the client may choose to hire different counsel. Or, an insurer may be unhappy with counsel selected by the insured and may choose to engage different counsel after the retention is exhausted. These scenarios can create a number of risks for the replacement counsel as well as for the insurer. This panel will address how to limit those risks and effectively represent the interests of the clients and insureds while moving forward with new counsel.

Shari Klevens, Partner, Dentons LLP, Washington DC
Scott Kossove, Assistant Vice President, Large Law Firm Underwriting, CNA, New York, NY
D. David Keller, President and Founding Shareholder, Keller Landsberg, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Breakout 3
Young Professionals Session:
Social Media, Blog and Publication Liability…Oh My!
Maintaining a social media profile is commonplace and perhaps necessary in the digital age. Yet though the internet presents a tremendous platform for communication and a large audience, attorneys must remain mindful that notwithstanding the informality some may associate with social media, what you post can (and will) be held against you. Consequently, attorneys involved in digital discourse must take steps to protect themselves from potential professional liability, professional responsibility, and cyber liability pitfalls. This program will discuss some of the ethical and liability concerns that may arise from the casual and ill-considered use of social media and other digital publishing methods from the defense and insurance perspectives, as well as touch upon pointers for responsibly and appropriately using social media. This session will equip attendees to exercise vigilance and careful deliberation in managing their digital presences, and to take steps to protect themselves from lurking ethical and liability issues associated with the use of social media.

Jessica Beckwith, Partner, Lewis Brisbois, Phoenix, AZ
Stuart Panensky, Partner, FischerBroyles, Princeton, NJ
AnnieThompson, Claims Attorney, Lawyers' Mutual Insurance Company, Burbank, CA

12:30—1:45 p.m.

Guest Performers: Fushu Daiko Japanese Drumming Group
Fushu Daiko combines taiko drums & rhythms of Japan with styles such as jazz and rhythm & blues to create an exciting, powerful cross-cultural experience.

2:00—3:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout 4
Management Liability Threats: Why Choosing the Right Directors & Officers Liability and Employment Practices Liability Insurance is a Must in the Era of Internal Claims Against Individuals at the Firm
Law firms are not immune from the same risk as corporations. The growing demands of running a law firm requires firms to delegate management responsibility to dedicated officers or committees and exposes law firm partners to many of the same liability risks faced by the directors and officers of corporate entities. At the same time, high-profile employment-related claims have become a daily fixture in the legal press. This panel will discuss the unique challenges these management liability claims pose for law firms and provide insight on the insurance, risk management, and avoidance strategies a firm can take to avoid them.

Thomas McCally, Partner, Carr Maloney P.C., Washington, DC
Scott Gagliardi, Vice President, Sompo International, New York, NY
Eileen Garczynski, Senior Vice President, Ames & Gough, McLean, VA
Matthew Faenza, Underwriting Consulting Director, CNA, New York, NY

Breakout 5
The Epidemic of Claims by Non-Clients Against Company Counsel, and What You Can Do About It
To establish a claim of malpractice against a lawyer, a plaintiff must show that the lawyer owed a duty to the plaintiff, breached that duty, and caused damages as a proximate result. In order to prove the existence of a duty, once upon a time the plaintiff had to prove an attorney-client relationship. Yet today, non-clients are asserting claims against lawyers at an unprecedented rate and some courts appear to be receptive to broadening theories of lawyer duties to non-clients. This panel will focus on how this trend impacts lawyers who represent corporate clients, who are increasing the subject of claims brought by their clients' shareholders, officers, directors, employees, and even corporate outsiders like lenders or transaction counterparties. It also will review what lawyers can do to mitigate the risks of these claims.

Gary M. Ronan, Director and Assistant General Counsel, Goulston & Storrs PC, Boston, MA
Miranda Lundeen Soto, Partner, Shutts & Bowen LLP, Miami, FL
Jessica Rudin MacGregor, Partner, Long & Levit LLP, San Francisco, CA
Kenneth D. Small, Vice President—Senior Claims Counsel, ALAS, Chicago, IL (Moderator)

3:15—4:15 p.m.

Plenary Session 3
High Risk, High Limit, High Exposure: Practical Tips on Handling a High-Profile Legal Malpractice Case
How can attorneys handling high profile legal malpractice cases make sure they do not become part of the story? This panel will explore the ins and outs of defending legal malpractice suits in the news. The panelists will delve into cases, practical tips and common pitfalls. They will also discuss handling media inquiries and the role of social media.

Eugene Pettis, Co-Founder, Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, FL
Barry Postman, Partner,  Cole, Scott & Kissane P.A., West Palm Beach, FL
Kimberly Blair, Partner, Wilson Elser, Chicago, IL
Kate Barth, Senior Public Relations Manager, Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL

5:30—7:30 p.m.

Thursday Evening Reception
The Bass Museum of Art ($90)
Join us as we explore an art destination that showcases the diverse nature and spirit of Miami Beach residents and tourists over food and libations in the beautiful and newly renovated The Bass Museum of Art.

Friday, April 5, 2019

9:00—10:00 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout 6
Disrupters: New Legal Insurance at Your Doorstep
Innovative legal insurance is disrupting the market. Insurers are finding the legal market is ripe for business. From insuring contingency-based class actions and personal injury lawsuits to funding litigation files, the ramifications for malpractice insurers are just beginning to be felt. How are costs going to rise when more and more participants in litigation are funded or insured? Long established (and controversial) in the United Kingdom, "after-the-event insurance" or "legal expense insurance" has caught on like wildfire in Canada and may well be on its way to the U.S. Insurance is also finding a new home on the blockchain. Learn what you should be preparing for and what you can do to turn these challenges into opportunities during this dynamic breakout session.

Stephen van Wert, President, Founders Specialty, Tampa, FL
Ian Hu, Counsel, Claims Prevention, LawPro, Toronto, ON
Christopher Piety, Senior Vice President, Underwriting Counsel, Aspen Insurance, San Francisco, CA

Breakout 7
Case Law Updates
Talk about practical. What could be more useful to lawyers’ professional liability attorneys than an update on important case law developments? The answer is an update on key cases decided in the last year, supported by materials you will want to save for future reference, combined with a dialogue among our expert panelists about emerging trends and cutting edge theories. You will hear about decisions and ideas that you can use in your current matters and others that you will want to store away for future reference.

Mary Borja, Partner, Wiley Rein, Washington, DC
John Duffy, Partner, Donohue, Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC, Chicago, IL
James Walker, Partner & General Counsel, Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP, New York, NY

10:15—11:15 a.m.

Plenary Session 4
Fanning the Flames: Have Conflicts of Interest Driven Up Claim Severity? (Ethics)
In each year of the annual Ames & Gough survey of lawyers’ professional liability claims, insurers have cited conflicts of interest as the most common alleged legal malpractice error. Contemporaneously, claim severity has continued to rise for nearly every insurer surveyed. This panel will explore the correlation between alleged conflicts and claim severity, examine scenarios where conflicts of interest—whether perceived or actual—have been strategically exploited by plaintiffs as a method to inflame judges and juries, and discuss how best to manage conflict allegations from the defense perspective.

Sashi Bach, Partner, Boies Schiller Flexner, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Linley Jones, Founder, The Linley Jones Firm P.C., Atlanta, GA
Timothy Gephart, Vice President of Claims, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, Minneapolis, MN
Dan Knise, President and CEO, Ames & Gough, McLean, VA
Matthew Marrone, Partner, Goldberg Segalla, Philadelphia, PA (Moderator)