The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

James Careless

The practice

Professional liability insurance

By James Careless February 12, 2016 12 February 2016

Professional liability insurance

Four out of every five Ontario lawyers – that is 80 per cent – will be sued for malpractice at least once in their careers. The heady risk of malpractice is not limited to this province: lawyers nationwide regularly face the threat of malpractice suits as a reality of doing business. This is why every law society/Chambres or Barreau program in Canada requires private practice members to carry at least $1 million in professional liability insurance.

There is no exception to this rule: “One way or another, every lawyer in private practice in Canada has professional liability insurance – and must have it in order to practice,” said Dan Pinnington, Vice-President Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations of LawPRO (Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company), which provides professional liability insurance to Ontario lawyers.

The annual cost of professional liability insurance “varies widely, from $1,395 in Manitoba to $3,900 in Alberta,” said Su Forbes, Director of the Law Society of British Columbia’s Lawyers Insurance Fund. In B.C. the cost is $1,750, while in Ontario, the annual premium is $3,350 plus 5 per cent PST. LawPRO gives first year lawyers a 50 per cent discount.

For a new lawyer faced with all kinds of start-up costs, buying professional liability insurance each year can feel like an unwelcome expense. It may also seem like an invitation.

“Some might argue that having mandatory insurance might encourage clients to sue their lawyer,” Forbes acknowledged. “On the other hand, while some suits lack merit, it is important that clients who establish a viable malpractice claim are reasonably compensated for their losses.”

Read More

Peer support resources for solos and small firms

By James Careless August 6, 2015 6 August 2015

Peer support resources for solos and small firms

Compared to their larger legal counterparts, solo practitioners and small law firms don’t have the time or money to invest in analysing and improving their business practices. Fortunately, there are many peer-based support options that can them up their games in affordable, efficient ways.

Tap Into associations

Whether it be a local CBA branch or a group of lawyers focused on a specific area of legal practice, associations can be great peer resources. After all, their members are lawyers too; they have an intimate knowledge of the struggles of legal life. 

A case in point: As a solo who specializes in immigration, Toronto lawyer Vince Wong relies on the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the CBA’s National Citizenship and Immigration Law Section, and the Toronto Lawyers Association for peer support. “I tap into these associations for the additional formal training I need, and to keep myself on top of changes to the law and new legal precedents,” said Wong. “These are my peers; people who are doing the same work as I am, and who understand what I am dealing with.”

Read More

Going solo – do you have what it takes?

By James Careless July 16, 2015 16 July 2015

Going solo – do you have what it takes?

A solo legal practice is not for everyone. There’s no regular paycheque, and you’re in charge of everything from conducting cases to finding clients to making sure the bills are paid – and collected.

On the other hand, solo practitioners can create their own careers. They don’t have to seek employment because they are their own employers. Within reason, solo practitioners can also set their own hours and work from home if they so choose.

So what does it take to be a solo practitioner? Here are some must-haves:

Read More

Currently doesn't have any blogs.

Current Issue

Editor's Picks

Editor's Picks

Editor's Picks