Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
BOSTON-A new Massachusetts regulation requiring attorneys to divulge whether they carry malpractice insurance raises questions about the burden on solo practitioners and small firms. The Bay State will join roughly one-third of other states requiring professional liability insurance disclosure when the new rule kicks in on Sept. 1. The American Bar Association adopted a model rule favoring insurance disclosure about two years ago. So far, only Oregon requires lawyers to carry insurance coverage. States such as Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania already have disclosure rules. A State Bar of California task force is studying the issue. Up to 20% lack coverage An estimated 15% to 20% of Massachusetts lawyers lack insurance, according to MBA Insurance Agency Inc., which is the Massachusetts Bar Association’s insurance arm and the largest legal malpractice insurance writer in the state. Depending on practice area, size of deductible and loss experience, the agency estimates that premiums start at about $1,000 to $2,500 per year for new lawyers, and rise to roughly $2,500 to $4,000 after a few years. About 20 callers have asked about insurance since the bar association sent an e-mail alert last week about the new rule, said President Terry Walsh. “It’s a lot for out-of-the-blue calls we haven’t solicited,” Walsh said. Although the Massachusetts Bar Association has no formal position on the new rule, association General Counsel Martin Healy acknowledged that there is likely to be a segment of the bar with concerns. “It would be awfully risky for practitioners not to protect themselves and their livelihood to go without professional liability insurance, but there will always be a certain minority of attorneys that may find it cost-prohibitive to obtain insurance,” Healy said. The state’s lawyer disciplinary entity, the Board of Bar Overseers, plans to post insurance information on its Web site in about a year, once it collects information on all lawyers in the state through its quarterly registration process. Until then, consumers can call for information on individual attorneys. Insurance coverage can be elusive as well as costly. Intellectual property solo practitioner Brandy Karl turned to Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co. to insure her Boston-based practice because, “There isn’t an insurer in Massachusetts who will touch [IP solos].” Lawyers may feel pressure to shell out money for insurance because they’re afraid to scare away potential clients, but Boston-based employment lawyer Jay Shepherd considers that a positive development. “If I were a client, I’d think long and hard before using an attorney without appropriate insurance,” said Shepherd, who runs the three-attorney Shepherd Law Group. Disclosure proposals were a hot topic at public hearings when Illinois first considered the measure, but the adoption process has been smooth, said Jim Grogan, chief counsel of the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. Like Massachusetts, Illinois posts the information on a state Web site. “We have had relatively little discussion after the [Illinois] Supreme Court amended the rule” a few years ago, Grogan said.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.