As a lawyer, you understand the importance of protecting yourself against potential lawsuits. That's why having professional liability insurance is essential.

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, is designed to protect lawyers against claims of negligence, malpractice, and other legal issues that could arise from their professional work.


Lawyers' professional liability insurance provides coverage for a range of claims, including:


  1. Malpractice: This type of claim arises when a client alleges that a lawyer made an error or omission that caused them harm.

  2. Breach of fiduciary duty: This type of claim arises when a client alleges that a lawyer mismanaged their finances or failed to act in their best interest.

  3. Disciplinary proceedings: This type of claim arises when a lawyer is the subject of a disciplinary hearing or investigation.


Having professional liability insurance can provide peace of mind for lawyers. If a claim is filed against you, the insurance will provide coverage for legal defense costs, settlements, and judgments.


You work hard to provide your clients with the best possible legal representation. However, even the best lawyers can make mistakes, and those mistakes can sometimes lead to lawsuits. That's why it's essential for lawyers to have professional liability insurance. Here are 10 reasons why lawyers need professional liability insurance:


    1. Protection for your assets: Without professional liability insurance, you could be personally liable for any damages awarded in a lawsuit. If a client sues you for malpractice or negligence, they may seek damages that could potentially bankrupt you. Professional liability insurance can help protect your personal assets and ensure that you don't lose everything you've worked hard to build.

    2. Defense costs: Even if you believe you did everything right, a client may still choose to sue you. Professional liability insurance can help cover the costs of defending yourself in court, including legal fees and expert witness testimony.

    3. Settlements and judgments: If a lawsuit results in a settlement or judgment against you, professional liability insurance will cover those costs up to the policy limit.

    4. Coverage for disciplinary proceedings: If you are the subject of a disciplinary hearing or investigation, professional liability insurance can provide coverage for legal defense costs.

    5. Protection for cyber crime:  If sensitive client information is stolen or exposed due to a cyber-attack or other breach, you could be sued for damages. Cyber Incidents such as wire fraud, data breaches, and social engineering have been on the rise. These cyber crimes can cause substantial losses to a law firm. A professional liability insurance policy will cover losses and expenses to recover from a cyber attack.

    6. It's required by law in some states: Insurance requirements for lawyers vary from state to state.  In certain states, lawyers are required to carry professional liability insurance as part of their licensing requirements. If your state does not have required minimum insurance coverage, they may have other stipulations surrounding malpractice insurance coverage. For example, a large number of states require lawyers to report their insured status every year, with some also requiring disclosure of non-insured status to all clients.

    7. Protection for your reputation: A lawsuit can damage your reputation, even if you are not found liable. Professional liability insurance can help mitigate that damage.

    8. Protection after you retire: Unfortunately, even after your last day at work, you could find yourself hit with a lawsuit several years down the road. You never know what could come up and which clients could decide they were unhappy with your work.  When you decide it's time to retire from the practice of law, it is essential to know your past work will not hurt you in the future.

    9. It can give clients peace of mind: When clients hire a lawyer, they want to know that their interests are being protected.  Clients may be more likely to hire you if you have professional liability insurance, as it provides them with an extra level of assurance that their legal needs will be met with care and attention.

    10. It can give you peace of mind: Knowing that you have professional liability insurance can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on providing the best possible legal representation for your clients.

Considering Professional Liability Coverage


If you don't already have professional liability coverage, it may be time to consider getting it. Once you've decided to purchase coverage, these four steps will help you make your insurance purchase decision.


  1. Determine your risk: The decision to get professional liability insurance is based on the level of risk your practice presents. How much coverage you need will be determined by the relative risk your law firm presents. The location of your practice, your areas of practice, as well as your practice management policies, will all help you determine your level of risk.

    Once you've determined your risk, you can determine the appropriate amount of coverage at a premium you can afford each year.

  2. Determine your coverage: Once you’ve determined your risk, you can begin exploring the coverage options that will protect you best. An experienced insurance professional can help you explore limits of liability options, deductible options, and policy features that will protect your firm.

    When exploring the many coverage options be sure to consider the complexity of the matters you handle as well as their size to help you decide.

  3. Compare carriers and policies: All carriers and policies are not created equal. Before selecting an insurance carrier or policy, ask questions of your broker or agent to determine if your firm and your type of practice fit into the carriers’ specialization.

    great resource for comparing insurance carriers is to check the carriers’ AM Best rating to determine their economic stability and reliability. A carrier with a rating of A- or higher is recommended.

    Finally, don’t hesitate to ask about their claims-handling processes, preferred defense counsel, and other customer-service concerns.

  4. Get a quote: Once you’ve done your research, and chosen potential carriers and policy features, it's time to get a quote or multiple quotes. Compare the price of the various policy features and the amount of potential coverage and other services you will get in return to determine which fits your law firm best.

Final Thoughts


In short, professional liability insurance is an essential tool for lawyers who want to protect themselves and their clients. Without it, you could be putting your career and your financial future at risk. 


For small to mid-size law firms, a Protexure agent can help you determine your coverage needs and find the policy that's right for you.