March 21, 2014 Articles

Effectiveness of the Business Enterprise Exclusion for Limiting Risk

An attorney who wears both lawyer and business person hats simultaneously can present unique risks to the lawyer’s professional liability insurance carrier.

by Kimberly Ashmore [1]

Many lawyers have begun pursuing nontraditional career paths and taking on new roles, including that of business person and entrepreneur. The American Bar Association reported that, in 2010, nine of the Fortune 500 companies had a lawyer as their chief executive, including Bank of America, Home Depot, and Pfizer, up from three just a decade ago.[2] That trend is forecast to continue.[3]

Although the crossover from law to business may be seen as a natural transition, an attorney who wears both lawyer and business person hats simultaneously can present unique risks to the lawyer’s professional liability insurance carrier. For example, an attorney’s pursuit of business opportunities with clients could result in an actual or perceived conflict between the lawyer’s interests and those of his or her client, leading to an increased risk of claims against the attorney.[4]

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