“The practice of law can be incredibly rewarding, yet it is fraught with risk. Those risks amplify when an attorney steps outside her primary practice area or fails to effectively communicate with the client,” write Seth L. Laver, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Professional Liability Practice Group and Patrick S. (Sean) Ginty, a risk control consulting director with CNA Global Specialty. “Serving as a local counsel can be beneficial to all — client, lead, and local counsel — as long as expectations and communication are clear.”
In this article, Seth and Sean discuss the increased malpractice risks for attorneys who serve as local counsel but can face liability exposure as the result of lead counsel’s decisions. They review key provisions — including policies on fees and file retention — that should be included in an engagement letter between local counsel and the client, and note that such agreements can reduce the risk of liability and improve communication.