This coming week I will be presenting two papers at two conferences taking place at the Banff Professional Development Centre, in Banff, the famous resort in the Canadian Rockies:
– As a 2012 Fellow of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics & Professionalism (NIFTEP), I will deliver a workshop on “Teaching Legal ethics in Macau: why and how?”, on Wednesday, July 11.
– At the 5th International Legal Ethics Conference (ILECV), I will present a paper entitled “Mandatory disclosure of lack of malpractice insurance by lawyers: a Trans-Atlantic comparison”, on Friday, 13. Here is the abstract:
Europe and North America have different approaches regarding the mandatory or voluntary nature of legal malpractice insurance. This is especially important since many clients presume that all lawyers are required to carry malpractice insurance. If an uninsured lawyer causes damages to his client, the latter will probably end up unprotected. An alternative approach has been followed in the United States, where several states have adopted rules of professional conduct that require a lawyer who lacks professional liability insurance to disclose that fact to every client. According to the Code of Conduct for European Lawyers, lawyers shall be insured against civil legal liability arising out of their legal practice to an extent which is reasonable having regard to the nature and extent of the risks incurred by their professional activities. Should this prove impossible, the lawyer must inform the client of this situation and its consequences. The debate on this issue has spread during the past several years, and opponents have voiced a variety of objections to the concept. In this paper, we address the following questions: is full disclosure to clients of information regarding their professional insurance one of the lawyer’s obligations? Should a lawyer’s failure to disclose his uninsured status be considered a violation of the canons of professional ethics? Does this type of rule provide any real protection for clients? In a word: should disclosure of malpractice insurance be mandatory?