Malpractice Insurance 101: An Introduction to Basic Insurance Concepts

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 96 minutes
Recorded Date: January 24, 2020
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 • Anatomy of a Legal Malpractice Policy
 • Nature of coverage
        - Claims Made Coverage
        - Prior Acts Coverage
        - Prior Knowledge Exclusions
 • Duty to Defend 
 • Policy Definitions
 • Limits and Coverage Options
 • Consent to Settle
 • Potential Additional Coverages
 • Underwriting Concerns
 • Reporting Claims
 • Possible Consequences
 • Traps for the Unwary

Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Recorded: January 24, 2020


The ABA's study on legal malpractice claims reveals the five practice areas with the most claims are: plaintiff's personal injury, real estate, family law, estate, trusts and probate, and collection and bankruptcy. Regardless of your practice areas, all attorneys need insurance protection.

This program was recorded on January 24th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Susan Saab Fortney

Professor & Director, Program for the Advancement of Legal Ethics
Texas A&M University School of Law

Before joining the Texas A&M faculty, Professor Fortney served as the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics and Director of the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice Deane School of Law at Hofstra University from 2011-2015. Previously, she taught at Texas Tech School of Law. When she left Texas Tech, she was the Interim Dean and a Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished University Professor.

Prior to joining Texas Tech, Fortney practiced law in both the public and private sectors. Upon graduation from law school, she first served as briefing attorney for Chief Justice Carlos Cadena of the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. She continued her public service as an attorney with the Division of Corporation Finance and the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fortney later entered private practice, first handling securities and corporate matters and later focusing on legal malpractice cases.

Since entering law teaching, Fortney has taught 19 different classes. Currently, her teaching and scholarship focus on legal ethics and malpractice issues.

Fortney’s has conducted a number of empirical studies related to law firm ethics, governance and culture. Most recently, she completed a study on the new regulatory regime for incorporated firms in Australia. She is currently assisting bar groups and regulators in the U.S. and Canada interested in implementing proactive regulatory measures that focus on risk management and practice assistance.

In 2015 she published the second edition of LEGAL MALPRACTICE LAW: PROBLEMS AND PREVENTION (co-written). This is the first textbook focusing on legal malpractice.

Fortney received recognition for her work as a teacher, scholar, and public servant. In 2006 she received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching award at Texas Tech University. She has received Distinguished Researcher Awards and the Texas Tech President’s Academic Achievement Award. Texas Lawyer newspaper selected her as one of the 30 Extraordinary Women in Texas Law. In 2010, the Texas Bar Foundation selected her as the recipient of the Lola Wright Foundation Award in recognition of outstanding public service in advancing and enhancing legal ethics. At Hofstra she was selected as a John Gregory Research Fellow. In 2015 she represented Hofstra University as a visiting scholar at Harris Manchester College at Oxford University.

Fortney has been elected as a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation. She also is one of the seven members of the National

Kyle Gilbert

Program Associate

Kyle Gilbert is a Program Associate at the ABA CLE.

JoAnn L. Hathaway

Practice Management Advisor, Practice Management Resource Center
State Bar of Michigan

JoAnn Hathaway is a practice management advisor for the State Bar of Michigan. She previously worked as a legal liability claims director, risk manager, paralegal, and legal administrator.

She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Spring Arbor University and Central Michigan University. She is an Adobe Certified Expert, is a Certified Clio Product Pro, and holds software certifications in LexisNexis Time Matters and Billing Matters software. She is a Registered Professional Liability Underwriter, a licensed property and casualty insurance agent, and the author of the ABA publication Legal Malpractice Insurance in One Hour For Lawyers.

She is active in the ABA Law Practice Management Division, serving on the Publishing Board and Law Practice Today Editorial Board, and is a frequent speaker on law firm technology, insurance, and risk and practice management topics.

Jett Hanna

Senior Vice President, Loss Prevention
Texas Lawyers' Insurance Exchange

Included among Jett’s many duties over the years at TLIE are supervising lawyers’ and judges’ professional liability claims, underwriting, loss prevention and computer operations. Jett received his B.B.A., summa cum laude, in Management Science and Computers from Southern Methodist University in 1980, and his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1983. Jett is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU). He lectures and writes on legal malpractice and insurance topics. Mr. Hanna was recognized in 2009 as a top writing contributor to the Charter for Compassion.

Courtney L. Bronson

Associate Director, Education Programs
American Bar Association

Courtney Bronson is the Associate Director of Education Programs at the American Bar Association CLE.

Richard Simpson

Wiley Rein LLP

Rick has a national trial court and appellate practice, with an emphasis on claims against lawyers, accountants, and other professionals in malpractice and disciplinary cases and defense of insurers in insurance coverage/“bad faith” cases. He also has represented individuals (including White House officials and a U.S. Senator) in connection with criminal and congressional investigations.

Rick has substantial jury and bench trial experience and has acted as lead appellate counsel in ten of the federal Courts of Appeals, and in state appellate courts in California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. He has handled a number of cases that received substantial press attention. Rick is a member of the Firm's Management Committee, and was an Adjunct Instructor in Trial Advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law from 2003 to 2017.

The Legal 500 US regularly rates Rick as a “recommended lawyer” in Insurance Law, noting he is “fantastic” (2016) and a “great analyst recommended for his ability to comprehensively understand business” (2015). He is also recognized as an “excellent appellate and trial court advocate” (2014).

Prior to private practice, Rick served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (under U.S. Attorneys John Martin and Rudolph Giuliani). He also held positions in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice (under Assistant Attorney General Theodore Olson), in the Office of Independent Counsel Curtis Emery von Kann, and in the Office of Independent Counsel James C. McKay.

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