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Liability and Malpractice Insurance

Liability and Malpractice Insurance

While LegalResearch.com carries general liability insurance, it does not carry malpractice insurance for one simple reason. LegalResearch.com’s legal research, analysis and writing services for attorneys do not constitute the practice of law and are therefore not subject to malpractice liability.

An attorney’s use of LegalResearch.com’s services is a legitimate procedure validated by the American Bar Association and ethics committee decisions so long as the attorney-customer retains direct supervision over LegalResearch.com’s Research Attorneys and ultimate responsibility for workproduct produced for his or her clients.

This ultimate responsibility for research and writing is mirrored in the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. From a professional-responsibility perspective, LegalResearch.com’s attorney-customer’s relationship with the company is analogous to an attorney’s relationship with a nonlawyer assistant, governed by Rule 5.3, Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants. See Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 5.3. Under Rule 5.3, the attorney bears final responsibility for the ethical components of a nonlawyer assistant’s activities. See id.

With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:

(a) a partner, and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the person’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer;

(b) a lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer; and

(c) a lawyer shall be responsible for conduct of such a person that would be a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by a lawyer . . . .

See id.; see also id. at cmt. 2 (“assistants, whether employees or independent contractors, act for the lawyer in rendition of the lawyer’s professional services. A lawyer must give such assistants appropriate instruction and supervision . . . and should be responsible for their work product.”).

Comment 3 to Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5.3 states that an attorney who uses nonlawyer assistance from outside his or her firm “must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatible with the lawyer’s professional obligations.” The efforts required depend “upon the circumstances, including the education, experience and reputation of the nonlawyer; the nature of the services involved; the terms of any arrangements concerning the protection of client information; and the legal and ethical environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will be performed, particularly with regard to confidentiality.” Id. at cmt. 3.

The word “liability” commands instant attention in this litigious age, but LegalResearch.com has not found it to be a problem. LegalResearch.com’s quality control processes ensure that such work is relevant, thoroughly researched, and painstakingly cited to appropriate authority. LegalResearch.com has never during its thirty-eight-year history encountered any sort of liability or malpractice problem related to the workproduct produced for its attorney-customers. LegalResearch.com’s commitment to quality maintains the company’s reputation for customer satisfaction and outstanding results.

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Chicago, Illinois

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