CNA’s Patrick (Sean) Ginty, Risk Control Consulting Director, contributes to the article “Risk Management Tips For Attys Serving As Local Counsel,” published by Law360®, examining the amplified risks when an attorney steps outside his or her primary practice area or fails to effectively communicate with a client.
Risk Management Tips for Attys Serving As Local Counsel by Patrick (Sean) Ginty and Seth Laver
Many attorneys are territorial animals. The thought of voluntarily exposing a client to potential competition may be frightening. Yet, given the licensing requirements attached to the practice of law, attorneys seeking to represent clients outside of their home state may require the use of local counsel. As such, they may be reluctant to risk the possibility of losing clients to competitors. Often, lead counsel maintains sole contact with the client and makes substantive decisions, merely relying upon local counsel only to serve in the requisite capacity to satisfy jurisdictional procedures. Therein lies the problem: absent appropriate precautionary measures, local counsel faces equal malpractice exposure for the substantive, strategic decisions of lead counsel even when the local attorney engages in what may appear to constitute inconsequential work on behalf of the client. What may be initially viewed as a stress-free opportunity includes inherent risks for local counsel.
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