Message from the Chairs
Thank you for visiting the ABA Professional Liability Litigation Committee’s homepage. Please join our committee and register on our ABA Communities page to stay up to date on current news, legal updates, and committee activities bearing on topics important to litigation regarding professional liability.
Tiffany Rowe continues to serve as the committee cochair for the 2022–2023 ABA year. Tiffany Rowe is a senior securities litigator at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in Washington, D.C. Tiffany’s practice includes representation of accountants and audit firms in professional liability litigation, securities litigation, and regulatory proceedings. This year, Tiffany is joined by Robert (Bob) Cox, a partner at Briglia Hundley in Tysons Corner, VA. Bob is a business litigation attorney and former assistant director with the PCAOB’s Division of Enforcement and Investigations. Bob’s practice includes representation of accountants and audit firms before the PCAOB, SEC, and state licensing boards as well as in professional liability litigation.
We have a great roster of subcommittee chairs, which is available on our committee website, and we hope to expand our subcommittee leadership team. We would like to welcome our new subcommittee chairs for joining us this year. If you or anyone you know would like to get involved in committee leadership, we are actively looking for a Newsletter Editor, a second Website Editor, and a Marketing and Membership Subcommittee Chair. We can also add cochairs to our Director’s and Officer’s and Attorney Liability subcommittees. Please contact us if you are interested in one of these leadership positions, or simply getting involved in committee leadership.
The world, and the legal industry, is starting to bounce back from COVID-19 and our committee members’ attention to generating committee content benefited our members. The committee continued to provide timely, in-depth content for our members. In April, the committee presented a roundtable entitled “Thomas Girardi and Michael Avenatti: Lessons Learned,” discussing two high-profile cases implicating ethical requirements and practice limitations for reporting another attorney's ethical violations. In May, the “Professional Liability Insurance for Lawyers, Covering the Basics” program offered committee members an update on key issues lawyers must consider in insurance policies that protect a law firm and its individual lawyers. Committee members also contributed several articles and practice points throughout the year, addressing many hot-button issues. Our year-end newsletter is a comprehensive source of these publications, available here.
We have prepared an ambitious calendar for this year and are actively working with subcommittee chairs to develop this plan for the 2022–2023 bar year, with many informative events to be announced. If you have an idea for a panel discussion, article, or other content, please reach out.
The committee is diligently working to complete its 50-State Survey of Accounting and Auditing Liability Issues. Most states are already available on our committee website. To drive this across the finish line, we are asking committee members to assist by updating those states that were drafted before 2022. Our goal is to have the 50-state compilation published as a book early in 2023. If you or others in your firm can contribute three to five hours to this project, please reach out.
In recognition of the mental health challenges that beset our profession, our committee’s website contains a list of links to the state bar lawyers’ assistance programs across the country. The legal profession collectively suffers from depression, suicide, and other mental health issues in significantly greater proportion than the general population. These issues can include anxiety; stress, burnout and balance; anger management; compassion fatigue; alcohol or drug addiction; compulsive behaviors such as gambling; and grief and loss. The ABA is strongly focused on this issue and on making lawyers aware of the many confidential resources available to them regarding mental health, substance abuse, and other life stresses that can adversely affect an attorney’s ability to practice law effectively. These programs can assist lawyers, judges, and law students with issues that are or may be impairing; support the ongoing recovery process of lawyers and judges; educate the legal community about issues of substance abuse and mental health; and help to maintain the integrity of the profession. We hope this list will be a useful resource to you and your colleagues.
We are always looking for written submissions for our website and upcoming newsletters: These could be articles of up to 2,500 words, or shorter “Practice Points” pieces of up to 750 words. If you are interested in writing for our committee, please contact our newsletter editor Amy Terwilleger, or our website editor Jon Walsh. We hope to put out a number of “Sound Advice” clips as well. These are short 5–8 minute audio recordings that discuss relevant topics to give ABA members fast and focused insight in recent developments in the professional liability space.
We thank you for your interest in the Professional Liability Litigation Committee and welcome your involvement in both the committee and the ABA. The Section of Litigation is the leading voice for trial lawyers in this country, and we are proud to be a part of it. We want to be sure that our content and member benefits are timely, relevant, and useful to our members; please contact us with any ideas or suggestions you may have for how our committee can best serve you and the legal community. And if you would like to contribute an article, work on our 50-state survey, or help with a Roundtable or Sound Advice or webinar, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Tiffany A. Rowe and Robert Cox
Cochairs, Professional Liability Litigation Committee