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cover of May 2018 issue

As a young litigator in Niagara more than two decades ago, I had to report my first claim to LPIC (as it was then known). I remember my feelings like it was yesterday. It was a simple and preventable error – missing a notice period on a slip and fall. I felt embarrassed.

I felt the other lawyers in the firm would think less of me. I felt badly about the extra hassle my client faced. With the hindsight of 17 years of claims prevention work at LAWPRO, I now know that many lawyers make mistakes, and that many more lawyers face allegations of negligence in circumstances where no errors were made. Thankfully, in both cases, LAWPRO is there standing behind lawyers to set things right when a client suffers damages due to an error by their lawyer, and to defend the lawyer when no error was made or no damages were suffered by the client. More than 80 per cent of the time, we defend lawyers successfully, often with the assistance of our excellent external defence counsel. Less than 20 per cent of LAWPRO claims ultimately require an indemnity payment.

Over the years, I have had hundreds of interactions with lawyers. Some of these interactions were easy, providing lawyers with information on technology or practice management issues, or giving them a nudge to report circumstances that might give rise to a claim.

Some of these interactions were challenging, in particular, talking to lawyers who have just been duped into transferring large sums of money out of their trust account, or someone dealing with personal issues. My LAWPRO colleagues have similar interactions on a daily basis. These conversations have shown us that Ontario lawyers face a wide variety of issues and challenges as they handle files and manage their practices and firms.

Knowing and understanding the day-to-day circumstances lawyers face has helped us build an insurance company that responds in practical ways to the needs of Ontario lawyers. My goal is to keep LAWPRO approachable and responsive. We want to remain an organization that our insureds think of as a trusted associate they can turn to in the difficult and stressful time of dealing with a claim.

I am thrilled to have the amazing opportunity to serve as President & CEO of LAWPRO during this time of change for the legal profession. I thank Kathleen Waters for the extraordinary passion and service she showed over her 21 years with the company. She has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the other members of our executive team and our amazing employees. In particular, I thank her for the work she has done to ensure a smooth transition.

LAWPRO is a strong and financially healthy company that is known beyond Ontario’s borders. We have fantastic people on our team and our leadership on risk management, claims services, technology and title insurance is recognized across Canada and abroad.

I will work to continue that leadership so LAWPRO can maintain responsive malpractice coverage and embrace change to help members of the profession succeed and thrive in these changing times. I am honoured to be the new President & CEO at LAWPRO and I look forward to serving the lawyers of Ontario.

Daniel E. Pinnington, Incoming President & CEO