King & Spalding’s Law Firm Defense group specializes in defending lawyers and law firms in professional liability litigation, internal partnership disputes, disqualification motions, and SEC and other regulatory proceedings. We achieve consistently favorable results for our law firm clients for three key reasons:
We try cases. We are trial lawyers with substantial experience in defeating high-risk legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims for our clients. We represent national, regional, and local firms and their lawyers, and our litigators have handled cases across the country. Our Law Firm Defense group includes two members of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and all of the members of our group pride themselves on being ready, willing, and able to try cases that we cannot win on a dispositive motion or settle satisfactorily. Our litigators also are able to draw on their deep experience in other complex commercial litigation matters. We find that our ability and readiness to try cases when necessary results in the best outcomes for our clients, even in cases that resolve before trial.
We tap relevant subject matter expertise. When necessary, our Law Firm Defense group is able to draw upon the resources of other King & Spalding practices areas to create the most effective defense for complex matters. For example, claims against law firms are increasingly being litigated by bankruptcy trustees after the financial failure of a client organization. We are able to bring the expertise of King & Spalding’s Financial Restructuring group to bear on the procedural aspects of such claims where appropriate. We are also able to draw upon the experience of King & Spalding’s Corporate group to assist in matters involving complex corporate transactions, members of our Real Estate Finance group in matters involving real estate transactions, and members of our Intellectual Property group to help defend claims arising from IP matters. We also work closely with members of our firm’s Special Matters team in connection with claims that raise potential governmental investigation and criminal liability issues.
We understand the issues. The members of our Law Firm Defense group have first-hand experience with the difficulties and internal sensitivities that often accompany the defense of claims against lawyers. One of our team members currently serves as our firm’s ethics and loss prevention counsel. Another of our team members currently serves on the board of directors of the leading provider of lawyers’ liability insurance for large law firms and previously served as General Counsel of an AmLaw 100 firm, while a third member of our group served as ethics and loss prevention counsel for his former firm. We believe that our experience in counseling fellow firm attorneys in ethics and loss prevention matters gives us additional insight into the specific problems that claims against lawyers and law firms can raise, and we are able to design our defense of matters in a way that takes all of the relevant issues into account.
Examples of some of our recent law firm defense matters include:
- Defended a national law firm in connection with SEC and U.S. Department of Justice investigations of suspected insider trading by one of the firm’s former lawyers;
- Defending a regional law firm in malpractice litigation brought by a former client arising from its sale of LLC interests;
- Defending a regional law firm in malpractice litigation brought by a bankruptcy trustee arising from negotiation of a stock purchase agreement for an investment group in a community bank that ultimately failed;
- Defended a national law firm in connection with allegations of the sale of limited partnership interests as unregistered securities;
- Defended a national law firm alleged to have committed professional negligence in representation of investors in high tech company;
- Defended a regional law firm in connection with multiple lawsuits alleging discovery fraud;
- Defended a regional law firm alleged to have committed professional negligence in the trial of a RICO lawsuit;
- Defended four national law firms in a variety of actions, including actions brought by an SEC receiver, clients, investors, and parties to business ventures;
- Defended a regional law firm in malpractice litigation brought by a bankruptcy trustee alleging conflicts of interest in connection with investments by corporate client;
- Defended a national law firm against substantial malpractice claims asserted by bankruptcy trustee on behalf of estate of firm’s former real estate developer client;
- Defended a national law firm in a malpractice action based on alleged negligence at trial;
- Defended a partner against fiduciary duty claims in arbitration brought by a former law firm;
- Defended a regional law firm in action for contribution by a former client against whom a jury awarded significant damages for fraud;
- Defended regional law firm in litigation arising from a pre-credit crisis commercial real estate closing;
- Defended regional law firm against malpractice allegations arising out of the firm’s patent prosecution practice; and
- Defended lawyers in multiple fees disputes and disciplinary matters.