On parental leave from your private practice? Relax, you’re covered
Lawyers about to become parents sometimes ask about their coverage while on parental leave. The answer is simple: if a lawyer was in private practice before taking the leave and was covered under the Program policy, and then suspends private practice for “family (or illness) reasons” (with intention to return) for up to five years, the lawyer is eligible for $1 million per claim/$2 million in the aggregate of run-off coverage during the leave.
While the standard LawPRO run-off coverage is capped at a one-time limit of $250,000, that coverage is designed for lawyers leaving practice permanently, whether due to retirement or a career change. Many retiring lawyers assess their risk and buy-up their coverage to a higher limit as part of their efforts to conclude outstanding work and wind down a practice. Lawyers on parental leave are in a different position: they are more likely to be leaving a busy practice midstream, without having closed all of their active files. They may also be leaving behind work done as part of a team, the members of which could be exposed to financial risk if a claim arose after their colleague’s coverage limit was reduced. For these reasons, run-off coverage up to the standard policy limits supports risk management continuity not only for the lawyer, but for colleagues. The lawyer on leave is responsible, of course, for making appropriate arrangements to transfer files to others in the firm, along with appropriate instructions. For a checklist to help with this process, see the textbox at the end of our article see “Taking parental leave? You have options!” on practicepro.ca.
For full details of eligibility, please see your LawPRO policy.