|Date:||December 13, 2002||Contact:||Laura Kiernan
Court Information Officer
LAWYERS REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE LIMITS OF MALPRACTICE COVERAGE
CONCORDLawyers in private practice will have to disclose to clients if they have less than $100,000 in legal malpractice insurance, according to a new rule adopted today by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The rule goes into effect on March 1, 2003.
According to the rule, attorneys will also have to disclose if they have less than $300,000 in coverage for multiple occurrences over the term of their malpractice policy. Notice to clients about malpractice coverage must be provided on a separate form signed by the client and maintained by the lawyer for five years after representation has ended.
"We think this new rule will provide important information for consumers of legal services," Chief Justice David A. Brock said. The disclosure requirement will be included in the Rules of Professional Conduct which govern New Hampshire lawyers.
The new rule is similar to malpractice coverage disclosure requirements in other states and was recommended to the Supreme Court after a public hearing before the Advisory Committee on Rules. The Supreme Court also held a public comment period before approving the rule.
Within 30 days of the effective date of the rule, lawyers must also provide similar notices to existing clients who must sign it.
Lawyers who work for the government or who are employed as in-house counsel working for a business or other entity are exempt from the rule.
The disclosure requirement and form are at http://www.courts.state.nh.us/rules/pcon/pcon-1_17.htm.