For years – since the ink was still wet on our licenses – we’ve been defending the legal profession. Against legal malpractice claims, to be sure. But also in ethical proceedings before the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, and against non-traditional (but seemingly on-the-rise) claims by third-parties to the relationship, such as defamation, conspiracy, aiding-and-abetting, malicious prosecution, Fair Debt Collection and civil RICO.
And the lawyers that we’ve represented come from all walks of the legal profession: divorce; estate planners and probate litigators; commercial and residential real estate; criminal defense; intellectual property; professional malpractice; personal injury and medical malpractice; insurance and workers' compensation defense; tax; labor and employment; immigration; municipal; commercial lending and transactions; bankruptcy.
We are frequently hired by some of the largest writers of legal malpractice insurance in the country and, due to our many successes on behalf of lawyers in the Midwest, are often hired at the request of the lawyer that is on the receiving end of a complaint or an ARDC inquiry.
Incomplete coverage. Gaps in coverage. Lower limits than requested. Material misrepresentations on the insurance application. Bad advice on giving notice of potential claims. There is no shortage of claims an insurance producer may face when its customer gets hit with a lawsuit for which there is no coverage, or with a declaratory judgment complaint from its insurer.
And that’s only one side of the spectrum. Insurance agencies and producers regularly face claims from the insurance companies for whom they place policies. Material misrepresentations on the application, again. Exceeding binding authority. Wrongful retention of premiums. Breach of agency agreements.
Against a backdrop of Illinois law that is not quite as developed as it is in the legal malpractice arena, we’ve navigated these waters with efficiency and considerable success, finding ourselves often at the forefront of legal developments that impact insurance producers and agencies in the operation of their businesses. We even helped write the newest book on risk avoidance for insurance producers and their agencies.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – FINRA as it is more commonly known – is akin to a foreign jurisdiction for most lawyers. They don’t understand its rules, they can’t comprehend its idiosyncrasies. But we have been defending stock brokers, registered representatives and broker-dealers against customer- and industry-based claims for years, and those rules, those idiosyncrasies, are second nature to us.
Whether the claim comes from a customer complaining of fraud, unsuitability or churning, from an industry competitor alleging unfair competition or tortious interference, or a dispute between a registered representative and a broker-dealer over commissions or parting ways, our reputation within the security industry is such that we are on the short-list of law firms the industry looks to when it needs defending.
Outside of claims for damages, we represent registered representatives when Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) comes calling with an investigation arising out of customer complaints. From the initial § 8210 letter from FINRA, through the OTR process, and beyond any resulting Wells notice, we have protected the industry from reprisal.
The world of accounting cuts wide and deep: bookkeeping; financial planning; tax preparation; compilations, reviews and audits. And the sources of claims for accounting malpractice and audit errors are no less broad: individuals, small businesses, family trusts, not-for-profit corporations and publicly traded companies.
Over the years, we have represented accountants and their firms – big, small and everywhere in between – against claims concerning everything from improper tax return preparation with resulting penalties and interest, to audit errors that failed to detect massive embezzlement, to financial planning that ultimately led to corporate and personal bankruptcy.
Architects and engineers often find themselves in the crosshairs when a structural component of a project fails, or the date for substantial completion slips past, or when the owner experiences significant cost-overruns.
Whether the claim sets forth defects in a project’s design leading to a structural failure or the need for intensive redesigning, or a failure by the design professional to properly administer the contract documents, we come well-prepared to defend the A&E claim: we’ve not only defended scores of them, but we’ve actually worked in the field and gained first-hand experience of the construction process, from notice-to-proceed to punch-list completion letters.
The system has been described as archaic, and its participants – the buyer and the sellers – as being motivated as much by emotion as by reason. It is thus no wonder that real estate professional claims abound. Add a difficult market to the mix, and a potpourri of claims against brokers, agents, appraisers, lawyers, title agents and companies, and mortgage holders is the inevitable result.
Bad housing market or otherwise, we’ve been defending RPL claims since the 1990s. Fraud-in-the-inducement, high appraisals, latent defects, undiscovered encumbrances, failure to correct title exceptions, Fair Housing violations. There is no shortage in the types and variations of these claims, and we’ve seen them all.