Not all insurers offer “Career Coverage” for attorney malpractice insurance. But “Career Coverage” is a useful option for an attorney that is joining a new firm and had attorney malpractice that is being terminated with an old firm. “Career Coverage” provides coverage for past acts that occurred with another law firm by extending the prior acts date to a date that is before joining the current firm. Malpractice coverage is then provided for terminated insurance coverage from another law firm. This means that the attorney may be able to avoid the cost of an Extended Reporting Period Endorsement (ERP or Tail).
Problems arise when “Career Coverage” is not defined in the policy or an endorsement attached to the policy that extends the prior acts coverage date. Many policies do define ‘Of Counsel’ coverage in the definition of who is insured but few define “Career Coverage”. Normally ‘Of Counsel’ coverage is limited to professional services on behalf of the named insured firm. This is the current Wesco Lawyers Professional Liability Policy definition:
G. “Insured” means the Named Insured, predecessor firm and the persons or entities described below:
…3. Any lawyer, law firm, partnership, professional corporation, professional association, limited liability corporation or limited liability partnership who acts as Of Counsel to the Named Insured or any non-employee independent contractor attorney or per diem attorney to the Named Insured but only for legal services performed on behalf of the Named Insured;…
Given this definition, even with a prior acts date listed on the policy or an endorsement the only work that will be covered is work done for the current law firm. Barring another endorsement on the policy there will be no coverage for work done prior to joining the firm.
The devil is in the details.