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Issue 65 | September 2020

LIANSWERS

This newsletter includes information to help lawyers reduce the likelihood of being sued for malpractice. The material presented is not intended to establish, report, or create the standard of care for lawyers. The articles do not represent a complete analysis of the topics presented, and readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.
Small but Mighty: Reducing Risk in Daily Transactions

Of the claims opened in 2019, almost 60% were caused by either Communication or System/Procedural/Administrative errors. The remaining 40% are a combination of a Failure to Know/Apply the Law; Conflict of Parties; Delegation/Supervision of Staff; and Fraud by a Client/Other Party.

Here are some pitfalls that have been shown to increase risk in your practice:

  1. Sending emails to the wrong person. Double-check the “To” line in emails to ensure it’s going to the right person. Auto-correct or automatic fill-ins for emails can cause the wrong person to be in the “To” line resulting in a breach of your client's privacy and confidential information.
  2. Delaying registration of documents in the land registry like mortgages or judgments. Ensure documents are filed expeditiously to avoid a priority issue later if someone registers a mortgage or judgment before you “get around” to registering yours. Timing is everything. It’s not the date of the document that counts, it’s the date of registration that will determine priority.
  3. Unless there is a duel retainer, ensure the “unrepresented” party knows that you do not represent them and make sure to recommend they either get their own lawyer or obtain ILA before signing documents unrepresented. Moreover, this should be done in writing so there’s no mistake or misunderstanding. There is often confusion by parties on who the lawyer represents. Take a moment to review LIANS' General Sample Letters, Precedents, and Checklists; as well as those pertaining to Real Estate.