Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance

 R. Paul Childress, chair

The Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance (LMI Committee) concentrated its efforts this year on improving its risk management endeavors in conjunction with ALPS, the Virginia State Bar-endorsed liability insurer. Three per cent of ALPS’s net Virginia premiums are set aside for the benefit of Virginia State Bar members. Since the beginning of the ALPS program ten years ago, those dollars have been focused on the execution of a fall continuing legal education ethics tour offered without charge to Virginia attorneys, in addition to other activities implemented by two in-state risk managers retained on a contract basis.

At meetings held on July 14, 2010, and August 10, 2010, a major change in strategy was proposed by the risk management subcommittee for the coming year. After careful analysis of the budget and dollars available, the risk management subcommittee, in conjunction with the ALPS liaison Chris Newbold, decided the time was ripe to move to a full-time Virginia-based risk manager.

That decision became a reality this spring with the hiring by ALPS of Virginia attorney Wendy F. Inge, an experienced risk manager who had previously worked for Minnesota Lawyers Mutual. As ALPS stated in its report to the VSB Council on June 16, 2011: “With Wendy aboard, we will be able to deliver risk management education in new and innovative ways to supplement face-to-face efforts, utilizing technology to reach more rural practitioners and starting to delve into more substantive law areas which correlate directly with our claims losses.”

At its meetings held on September 29, 2010, November 17, 2010, February 16, 2011, and May 11, 2011, the LMI Committee continued to focus on monitoring the performance of ALPS; increasing the committee members’ knowledge in the lawyers professional liability arena; and targeting the risk management budget toward educational topics to decrease liability for Virginia lawyers.  The committee did not undertake an evaluation of the endorsement agreement during this bar year.

David D. Hudgins of Alexandria and Steven K. Whitaker of Chesapeake will join the committee as new members on July 1, 2011.

Chris Newbold of ALPS continued to provide excellent educational programs at the LMI Committee meetings in fiscal 2011.

Updated: Jul 14, 2011