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California attorney professional liability insurance protects both lawyers and the clients they represent. In cases of actual errors or omissions in legal services that ultimately prevents the client from being compensated fully or fairly, professional liability insurance can ensure the client is able to recoup their losses. In cases where lawyers may be accused of inadequate legal representation, professional liability insurance can protect them from financial loss due to perceived or actual errors.
According to the Rules of Professional Conduct set forth by the State Bar of California, a California lawyer must disclose to their clients if they do not have professional liability insurance, if their legal services will exceed four hours.
Specifically, Rule 3-410(A) states:
“A member who knows or should know that he or she does not have professional liability insurance shall inform a client in writing, at the time of the client’s engagement of the member, that the member does not have professional liability insurance whenever it is reasonably foreseeable that the total amount of the member’s legal representation of the client in the matter will exceed four hours.”
1. Government lawyers while working in that capacity
2. Emergency situations where immediate legal representation is needed to ensure the rights or interests of the client are preserved
3. In cases where the client has already been informed in writing that the lawyer does not carry professional liability insurance
The exact wording of these exceptions, and other pertinent information, can be found at this official website of the State Bar of California:
The Rule 3-410(A) professional rule is intended to protect the rights of clients by ensuring they have the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to engage a lawyer who does not have professional liability insurance.
Since disclosure of this fact is required in writing, it will likely be in the paperwork that a client would be required to sign at the beginning of an engagement with a lawyer. This is an excellent example as to why a client should take the time to very carefully read all the paperwork they are signing when engaging, hiring or otherwise, a lawyer to legally represent them.
“Pursuant to California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-410, I am informing you in writing that I do not have professional liability insurance.”
Since this is the official recommendation by the State Bar of California, this is the exact language a client is most likely to see in their paperwork if a prospective lawyer does have California attorney professional liability insurance.
If you are searching for a personal injury lawyer, you may want to ask up front whether or not they have professional liability insurance. Settlements and/or awarded compensation for personal liability cases can be very high, in the hundreds of thousands or even millions in some cases. In these cases, where the potential compensation is so high, it would not make sense to work with a lawyer or law firm that does not carry professional liability insurance.
The May Firm carries full California attorney professional liability insurance for the protection of all our clients. Further, we treat each client as we would our own family members. In doing so, we are fully committed to following through on every detail of our clients’ cases to achieve the best settlement and/or award possible.
2530 Professional Parkway, Suite A, Santa Maria, California, 93455
629 State Street, Suite 228, Santa Barbara, California, 93101
297 Santa Rosa Street, San Luis Obispo, California, 93405
5500 Ming Avenue, Suite 390, Bakersfield, California, 93309