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Embroker Team September 7, 2022 16 min read

Legal Professional Liability Requirements by State

Two people in business attire fist-bumping after discussing the legal professional liability requirements by state

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Legal malpractice insurance is one of the most important areas of liability coverage a law firm or practicing attorney should purchase. Any mistakes or errors made when working with a client can lead to claims of malpractice or negligence against an individual or firm, leading to additional litigation.

With all of the rules and regulations around running a law firm, you may be surprised to hear that most states don’t require legal malpractice insurance.

Legal malpractice insurance or legal professional liability (LPL) will provide insurance coverage to an attorney in the event of claims of malpractice or negligence. It’s strange to think that LPL, an insurance type that can offer attorneys a valuable safety net, is not required by most states. 

In fact, some states have brought the issue of LPL being optional to court. In the case of the state of Georgia for example, a PLI committee failed to change the mandate. In the fall of 2021, the State Bar of Georgia’s Board of Governors voted to continue to make buying professional liability insurance (PLI) or disclosing that you have it optional. 

The rationale behind keeping it optional is simple. People consider it to be an unnecessary cost. But, if you were to find yourself in a malpractice scenario, we doubt that you would see it as such. 

How Much Does Legal Malpractice Insurance Cost?

LPL insurance plans differ from case to case. There are certain factors that will be considered when coming up with a coverage plan for your firm. For starters, the size of your firm can impact the cost. Larger law firms have higher rates than solo law firms or small practices. Your type of practice can also impact the cost of your plan as some practices, like those handling medical malpractice cases, for example, have a higher risk attached to them. A claims history may also impact your rate. And having a risk management plan may help lower premiums.

Of course, your level of coverage will also impact the cost associated with your plan. 

The Breakdown of Legal Professional Liability Requirements by State

While many states don’t require attorneys or firms to have LPL, they do demand that it is disclosed to both clients and the state whether or not you carry it–and there are some intricacies around the specifics; including exemptions in each state, usually for government or municipal attorneys and in-house counsel for companies. 

LPL Requirements in Alabama

In Alabama, attorneys are not required to have legal liability insurance. In order to practice law in Alabama, attorneys must first obtain a license and adhere to the state’s professional responsibility code. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar Association.

LPL Requirements in Alaska

Alaska does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, however, attorneys must notify clients in writing if they have no malpractice insurance, or if their coverage is less than $100,000 per claim and $300,000 aggregate. Clients must also be notified if insurance coverage is terminated or if coverage drops below the $100,000/$300,000 levels.

Other requirements for Alaska attorneys are that they must be members of the Alaska Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, demonstrate good moral character, and obey all rules of the Bar. The legal practice must also have its registration with the Bar Association on record.

LPL Requirements in Arizona

Arizona does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Arizona attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and maintain a good standing status with the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Arkansas

Arkansas attorneys are not required to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Arkansas attorneys are that they must be members in good standing of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and maintain a good standing status with the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Alaska

Alaska does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, but they must notify clients if their coverage is less than $100,000 per claim and $300,000 aggregate. Other requirements for Alaska attorneys are that they must be members of the Alaska Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, demonstrate good moral character, and obey all rules of the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in California 

California does not require liability insurance already, California’s Rules of Professional Conduct merely require that any lawyer who does not have insurance disclose that fact to his or her clients. According to the State Bar of California, there are no mandatory insurance requirements (except for limited liability partnerships or law corporations, as presently required by statute).

LPL Requirements in Colorado

Colorado lawyers in the private practice of law are not required to carry but they are required to report to Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Registration Office whether they carry coverage on an annual basis. Other requirements for Colorado attorneys are that they must be members of the Colorado Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Connecticut

Connecticut does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Connecticut attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm California requires attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for California Attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar of California, submit annual registration fees and maintain a good standing status with the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Delaware

Delaware does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Delaware attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Florida

Florida does not require attorneys to carry LPL, but the state does require lawyers to report whether insurance is carried or not each year when they register. Other requirements for Florida attorneys are that they must be members of the Florida Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Georgia

Georgia does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Georgia attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar, submit annual registration fees, and maintain a good standing with the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Hawaii

Hawaii does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. However, in 2007 The Commission recommended that the Supreme Court require attorneys to disclose on their annual Hawai`i State Bar Association attorney registration statement whether they have professional liability insurance. The Supreme Court accepted the Commission’s recommendation and now requires the disclosure. 

Other requirements for Hawaii attorneys are that they must be members of the Hawaii Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Idaho

Idaho does require that attorneys carry limits of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 as an annual aggregate. Other requirements for Idaho attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar of Illinois, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Illinois

Illinois does not require that attorneys carry malpractice insurance. However, in 2018  Illinois Supreme Court moved to encourage law firms to carry malpractice insurance by amending Rule 756. The state requires lawyers to answer questions about their professional liability insurance every other year at the time they renew their authorization to practice law.

Other requirements for Illinois attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar of Illinois, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Indiana

Indiana does not require attorneys to carry legal malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Indiana attorneys are that they must be members of the Indiana Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and maintain a good standing with the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Iowa

Iowa does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Iowa attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Kansas

Kansas does not require malpractice insurance, however, the state does require attorneys to report whether insurance is carried or not. Other requirements for Kansas attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Kentucky

Kentucky does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Kentucky attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Louisiana

Louisiana does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Louisiana attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Maine

Maine does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, it does require certification whether insurance is carried or not. Other requirements for Maine attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Maryland

Maryland does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Maryland attorneys are that they must be members of the Maryland Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Massachusetts

Massachusetts does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Massachusetts attorneys are that they must be members of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Michigan

Michigan does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Michigan attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and maintain a good standing with the Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. However, the state does require attorneys in private practice to disclose whether they carry professional liability insurance and the name of the provider. 

Other requirements for Minnesota attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Mississippi

Mississippi does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Mississippi attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Missouri

Missouri does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Missouri attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Montana

Montana does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. However, Lawyer Referral Service attorneys do have to agree to carry coverage. Other requirements for Montana attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Nebraska

Nebraska does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance but requires certification whether insurance is carried or not. Other requirements for Nebraska attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Nevada

Nevada does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, but the Nevada Bar website will show whether attorneys do or don’t have coverage. Other requirements for Nevada attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in New Hampshire

New Hampshire does require attorneys to disclose if their firm has no coverage or coverage that is less than $100,000/$300,000 levels. In this state, you must let clients know if coverage is terminated or if coverage drops below the $100,000/$300,000 levels. 

Other requirements for New Hampshire attorneys are that they must be members of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar4 association.

LPL Requirements in New Jersey

New Jersey does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance for private practitioners. That being said, Limited Liability firms must carry $100k in coverage (multiplied by the number of Attorneys) and are required to register the evidence of the coverage carried. 

Other requirements for New Jersey attorneys are that they must be members of the New Jersey Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in New Mexico

New Mexico does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, but attorneys do have to Inform clients if there is no coverage in place or if coverage is less than the $100-$300k limits. Other requirements for New Mexico attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association , submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in New York

New York does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for New York attorneys are that they must be members of their district Bar association, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in North Carolina

North Carolina does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance but does require certification whether insurance is carried or not. Other requirements for North Carolina attorneys are that they must be members of the North Carolina State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in North Dakota

North Dakota does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for North Dakota attorneys are that they must be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Ohio

In Ohio, a lawyer needs to have legal malpractice insurance or inform a client that they do not have malpractice insurance at the time of the client’s engagement or at any time subsequent to the engagement if the lawyer does not maintain such insurance.  This insurance must be in the amounts of at least $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in the aggregate. The lawyer also must inform the client if the lawyer’s malpractice insurance is terminated.

Other requirements for Ohio attorneys are that they must be members of the Ohio State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Oklahoma attorneys are that they must be a member of their local Bar association, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Oregon

All attorneys who are in private practice must participate in the fund, which is operated as a nonprofit corporation. The fund covers about 6,600 attorneys in private practice. It excludes lawyers who are not in private practice such as corporate counsel, government lawyers, and law professors. The fund covers $300,000 per claim and $300,000 aggregate per year, including defense costs. There is a $25,000 claims expense allowance. There is no deductible. The premium for coverage in 2002 is $2,200 for each attorney and will be $2,300 in 2003.

LPL Requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, but firms must notify clients if they carry less than the $100/$300 limits (or if coverage drops below this at any time). Other requirements for Pennsylvania attorneys are that they must be members of the Philadelphia Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Rhode Island

Rhode Island does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, except if the attorney is practicing in a corporation, LLP, or LLC. Other requirements for Rhode Island attorneys are that they must be members of the Rhode Island Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in South Carolina

South Carolina does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for South Carolina attorneys are that they must be members of the South Carolina Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in South Dakota

South Dakota does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. However, a disclosure is required on letterhead if they have no malpractice insurance or if coverage is less than $100k per claim. Other requirements for South Dakota attorneys are that they must be members of their local Bar association, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Tennessee

Tennessee does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Tennessee attorneys are that they must be members of the Tennessee Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Texas

Texas requires attorneys to carry malpractice insurance if they are not appointed by the Federal Government or do not practice federal law. LLPs are required to have $100k if they do not set aside this amount to satisfy judgments. Otherwise, there are no requirements to carry or inform clients. Other requirements for Texas attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character, be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and must have their status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Utah

Utah does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance or disclose whether or not they have it to their clients. Other requirements for Utah attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character and be members of their local Bar association. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Vermont

Vermont does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Vermont attorneys are that they must be members of the Vermont Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Virginia

Virginia does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance, but the state does require certification disclosing whether insurance is carried or not. Other requirements for Virginia attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character, be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and have their status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Washington D.C. attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character, be a member of the local Bar association and submit annual registration fees. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Washington

Washington does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance but they are required to report to WSBA, whether they carry coverage. Other requirements for Washington attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character, be members of the State Bar Association, submit annual registration fees, and have their status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in West Virginia

While there is no requirement for West Virginia lawyers to have professional liability insurance, there is a requirement to disclose whether or not you have insurance. Disclosed on state bar site for each attorney. Other requirements for West Virginia attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character, be members of the State Bar Association,  submit annual registration fees, and have their status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Wisconsin

Wisconsin does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Wisconsin attorneys are that they must demonstrate good moral character, be members of the State Bar Association and submit annual registration fees. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

LPL Requirements in Wyoming

Wyoming does not require attorneys to carry malpractice insurance. Other requirements for Wyoming attorneys are that they must be members of their local Bar association, submit annual registration fees and demonstrate good moral character. The law firm is also required to have its status on file with the Bar association.

If your state does not require malpractice insurance, it does not mean you don’t need it or shouldn’t get it. The short-term cost of insurance, when compared to the long-term risk of potential lawsuits, can be very worthwhile. Chat with one of our insurance experts and learn more about malpractice plans now.

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