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RISK MANAGEMENT

Malpractice claims are on the rise, and here’s why

The threat of malpractice looms larger now than when the country’s financial picture was less gloomy.
The poor economy is bringing more and different types of suits, says one malpractice insurance carrier.
It’s due to several reasons, starting with the fact that attorneys are accepting work today that in better times they would have turned down.
Swimming in unknown waters
Taking on work outside the firm’s experience and legal competence is a tremendous claim cause, says Vernon Barclay, founder of the Thaxton Barclay Group, a Tampa professional liability insurance provider.
Yet with business slow and competition high, attorneys are doing exactly…

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COMPLIANCE

An ever changing policy on using social media

“The reality is that people are going to use social media.”
So more than two years ago, the 65-attorney firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein took the position “that we were going to be tuned in to social media to promote business development,” says Frederick J. Esposito, Jr.,CLM, CFO and director of administration at the firm’s New York City office.
And with that decision came the task of setting standards for using it.
At that time, there were very few guides for the firm to follow, he says. The only applicable information was the rules of ethics regarding advertising. So he researched the benefits and risks of social media, gave a seminar on the findings to the attorneys, and began to develop the…

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MANAGING STAFF

To understand employees, understand their generations

To a great extent, managing staff (and also understanding the partners) depends on recognizing where each person stands in the generational scale.
Here’s how the generations from the beginning of the 20th century differ as employees.

• The Lost Generation (born 1883-1900). These are the people who fought in World War I.

• The Greatest Generation (born 1901-1924). This is the G.I. Generation, or the World War II veterans.

• The Silent Generation (born 1925-1945). These are the children of the Lost Generation. They grew up in the Depression. They respect authority, they conform, and they are…
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MANAGING STAFF

To manage staff better, interview at the start of the job, not at the end

Rarely does an employer get useable and accurate information in an exit interview, says Kristine Sexter, president of WorkWise Productions, a Tulsa organization that provides consulting in staff recruiting, development, and retention.
When somebody quits a job, it’s often because of a lack of trust in the employer. And rarely will anybody admit that. Ask “why are you leaving?” and the answer won’t be candid, if for no other reason than the staffer wants to use the firm as a reference. “People don’t want to burn bridges.”
On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for an angry employee to get vitriolic and cite a long list of things that…
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RISK MANAGEMENT

Today’s growing insurance need: EPLI coverage

It’s becoming increasingly necessary for all firms, yet only about 50% have it. It’s employment practices liability insurance.

EPLI is coverage for claims brought by disgruntled employees, and in the current “downsizing environment” it’s a necessity, says Uri Gutfreund, specialist in law firm insurance at Singer Nelson Charlmers in New York whose actual title is Law Firm Insurance Guru.
“In the good old days when the market was hot, a law firm could let people go and they’d get picked up the next day by a different firm.” But today getting another job isn’t easy, “so they come after you.”
EPLI covers employment-related lawsuits such as claims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and…

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COMPLIANCE

Retaliation gets broader and more expensive and is hitting all offices

What’s the single greatest employment law risk employers are facing?
Retaliation. The EEOC reports that retaliation claims have been on the upswing for 10 years and now sit at the top of the list of employment law matters. Heightening the issue is the fact that an employee can cry retaliation – and the firm can have to pay out a lot of money – even if the complaint supposedly causing the retaliation is found to be groundless.
Almost all offices are at risk. While some types of retaliation claims are limited to employers with a certain number of employers, others apply to all employers, regardless of size, cautions attorneys and…

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