Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance

R. Paul Childress Jr., chair

The Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance (LMI) started its year with a presentation to the Virginia State Bar Council of a proposal that would have required active VSB members engaged in private practice to maintain minimal levels of malpractice insurance. The proposal was not endorsed by the LMI Committee. At the council’s October 17, 2008, meeting, the proposal was defeated by a vote of 60-11.

The LMI Committee engaged in long-range planning and confirmed its intention to focus on its core responsibility — to monitor the performance of the endorsed malpractice insurance carrier, ALPS. The committee defined its objectives as improving its ability to evaluate and monitor ALPS’s performance. Specifically, the committee plans to:

  • Create viable metrics and measurements to form the basis of the committee’s analysis of information relating to the performance of ALPS.
  • Increase the level of knowledge possessed by each committee member through educational topics and mini-seminars conducted by ALPS with one area of lawyers professional liability covered at each committee meeting.
  • Develop a committee handbook of information needed for new members.
  • Work with ALPS to better target the risk management budget toward education for Virginia lawyers that might decrease liability in particular practice areas.
  • Retain an insurance industry consultant to help the committee undertake its evaluation of the endorsed carrier under the endorsement agreement.
  • Evaluate the endorsement.

In addition, the committee recommended that the term of each committee member be extended from three to five years because of the investment of time necessary to learn how to undertake the evaluation and analysis requirement. The council unanimously approved this change to the VSB Bylaws at its June 18, 2009, meeting.

Chris Newbold of ALPS provided excellent educational programs at the three Lawyer Malpractice Insurance Committee meetings held in FY 2009.

Updated: Aug 27, 2009