The Two Biggest Errors in Oil & Gas Practices

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Oklahoma is ranked fourth in the top oil-producing states in the country. Oil and gas is a rewarding business, not just for the country and for the state, but also for attorneys who practice in this area. However, like with most resources that generate lucrative income, it comes with risks and requires complex knowledge and expertise. Unlike most countries, oil and gas resources in the U.S. are privately owned (except where the land [...]

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Criminal Malpractice Lawsuits May Be Fewer, but No Less Costly

Criminal defense malpractice lawsuits are not common and are significantly different from civil cases when proving malpractice. Apart from the difficulty involved in proving ineffective assistance of counsel, the plaintiff must first overturn the criminal conviction before pursuing the malpractice lawsuit. There is a huge burden of proof on the plaintiff to demonstrate that they would have had a different outcome if not for the actions or inactions of the attorney. That’s why 80% of the criminal law claims [...]

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Avert Controversies With an Engagement Letter

One of the best instruments for an attorney to protect himself or herself from a malpractice lawsuit is a well-drafted engagement letter. The engagement letter is frequently disregarded by attorneys – instead, the attorney opts to just engage in a verbal agreement. However, a written engagement letter can be critical to both preventing and defending a professional liability claim. Significantly, the engagement letter ensures the attorney and the client are in agreement regarding items such as: Who is the client; Where the [...]

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Be Ready With a Disaster Plan

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Just in Oklahoma, the past several months have been a wild ride when it comes to weather-related phenomena. Ice storms, snowstorms, late-season tornadoes – we’ve seen it all over the last six months. Plus, our regular tornado season and our roller-coaster spring weather is just around the corner. Disasters aren’t limited to weather-related events, however. Fires, plumbing floods, even burglaries can happen at any time and can [...]

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What to Consider When Your Client May Have a Diminished Capacity

When OAMIC receives a claim involving an estate, whether that is a trust document or a will, the issue often is was the client competent at the time the estate document was executed? The lawyer should be careful to fulfill continuing commitments to the client both to represent their interest and, in some situations, to seek additional help for the client. Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, 5 O.S. 2021, Ch. 1, App. 3-A, Rule 1.14 provides the following: (a) When a client’s [...]

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Claims and Errors Trends: What You Should Know

Below is information compiled from OAMIC’s claim data from 2009-2019 regarding common errors and claims. This information was originally prepared as part of the materials for the recent continuing education program Tales From the Trenches, but we’ve made it available here because everyone in Oklahoma’s legal community can benefit from knowing about claims in our state. FREQUENCY BY AREA OF PRACTICE Similar to national trends, claims from 2009-2019 were highest in plaintiff personal injury/property damage work. This, combined with collections and [...]

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Statute of Limitations and the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act

Every year, it seems we have at least one claim that is the failure to provide timely notice under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act, 51 O.S. §151 et seq. Usually, we see this problem in the context of a claim against a medical provider, such as an ambulance service or even a hospital. By the time plaintiff’s counsel finds out the defendant is considered a political subdivision under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act, the statute of limitations [...]

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PHIL’S CORNER: Impact of COVID-19 on LPL Claims – If Any

Phil’s Corner is a special column from OAMIC’s President & CEO Phil Fraim that is sent in our e-newsletter each month. So far in 2020, claims in our office have been improved both in the number of new matters and the average size of those matters. Is this a false sense of security, the calm before the storm? It is way too early in the game to make predictions on what is known as a relatively long-tail line of coverage. [...]

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Remote Work: Risk Management in the Remote Work Environment

The novel COVID-19 pandemic has created new working conditions for most of us. How we work and how we interact with each other has drastically changed over the past months. With new territories comes increased risk, some known and other risks are still unknown. Therefore, it is vital that lawyers continue to take precautions to minimize the risks of legal malpractice lawsuits while navigating the remote environment. Most of the claims reported during “normal” times are as a result of [...]

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Remote Work: Productivity and Mental Health Tips

Even as offices reopen, especially as COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate across the country, many companies have adopted more flexible work from home policies, allowing employees to work outside the office more frequently and sometimes even on a regular schedule. Working from home comes with distractions like children, spouses, pets and access to TV and food, plus it presents challenges like slow Wi-Fi, distracting noises or software issues. This environment, coupled with negative headlines, social isolation and fear of catching [...]

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