Professional Malpractice & Licensure Defense

The firm has successfully represented lawyers and accountants against the broad and growing array of threats.

The firm has substantial experience in representing lawyers and accountants against allegations they committed malpractice or otherwise failed to meet professional standards in lawsuits, arbitrations, and other proceedings, including those before the SEC.

The firm has successfully represented lawyers and accountants against the broad and growing array of threats.  Clients and non-clients may sue under malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, contract or other tort theories alleging that the professionals’ conduct caused them damage.  Regulators such as the SEC or PCAOB may challenge the quality of work performed for audit clients.  Government enforcement agencies may investigate possible criminal charges or other enforcement actions for the roles of professionals in transactions that the government later challenges.

We have defended such allegations in a wide variety of substantive contexts, including such specialized areas of law as patent work, tax law, and licensing matters.  We also have defended cases involving allegations of malpractice in the handling of internal investigations, criminal defense, lawsuits and administrative proceedings.  We have advised lawyers and law firms and accountants and accounting firms on responses to grand jury subpoenas, regulatory subpoenas and CIDs and third-party civil discovery requests.

We have defeated many efforts to impose liability on professionals by obtaining dismissals in the trial court on summary judgment and sustaining the victory on appeal.  In other cases, we have reached favorable settlements through pre-suit or mid-suit mediation.

We have advised lawyers on ethics issues and on matters raising issues under applicable ethics rules in the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions.  One partner in the firm served for six years as the chair of a Hearing Committee under the D.C Bar discipline system.  We have advised on issues regarding conflicts of interests, unauthorized practice of law, relations with current and former clients, litigation and investigation witnesses, and others.

We also have advised lawyers on disputes with their former law firms over, for example, the division of fees or payouts for departed partners, as well as issues of ethics and liability that may exist between the firms and their current or former lawyers.

We recognize that professionals often seek multiple goals in defending against allegations of improper conduct.  They want to avoid liability, but they also must focus on preserving client relationships and avoiding adverse publicity.  In resolving disputes, we pay careful attention to provisions regarding non-disparagement and limitations on publicity.  In the interest of safeguarding the interests of our clients in avoiding publicity, we do not identify publicly any professionals or professional service firms that we have defended.

Robbins Russell Insights:

D.C.’s Non-Compete Ban: Little Effect on Lawyers, Washington Lawyer (July/August 2021)

Candor Toward the Tribunal: The Duty to Cite Adverse Authority, ABA Litigation Ethics and Professionalism Practice Point (January 27, 2021)