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What You Should Know About Your Disciplinary Coverage
Post on August 9th, 2022

OBLIC has recently seen an uptick in letters of inquiry directed to insureds from the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel. Letters of inquiry are part of the investigative review when a grievance is filed against an attorney.  

If you receive a letter of inquiry, or a formal complaint is filed against you, it is important to report the matter immediately to OBLIC in order to avoid potential coverage issues. In order for coverage to be available, you must learn of the grievance AND report it to OBLIC within the same “Policy Period.” Even if you plan to respond on your own, you may jeopardize your coverage in the event a formal complaint is later filed and you did not report the earlier grievance.

Your OBLIC policy will reimburse your firm up to $5,000 for the legal services charged by ethics defense counsel to defend you following the receipt of a disciplinary complaint or proceeding, usually in the form of a grievance filed with Disciplinary Counsel or a local bar association grievance committee. If a formal complaint is filed, there is an additional amount of up to $15,000 to pay for assistance of counsel. The policy deductible does not apply and any payments for disciplinary defense will not reduce the limits of liability.

This coverage applies only to legal fees, costs and expenses incurred in defending the disciplinary complaint. This coverage does not apply to monetary awards of any kind, judgments or settlements relating to, or resulting from, the institution of disciplinary complaints or proceedings. Review your policy for the full terms and conditions of this coverage.

OBLIC does not control the defense of disciplinary matters. You have the choice to select the lawyer to defend you against the disciplinary complaint. However, we are always happy to provide referrals to experienced ethics defense counsel.  We strongly recommend engaging defense counsel at the outset of a grievance. The value of avoiding further complication with disciplinary counsel and the fact that no deductible applies should help persuade you to use the coverage in your policy.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel has an excellent schematic to help understand the Disciplinary Process and also provides helpful FAQs if you receive a Letter of Inquiry.  Please contact us if you have received notification of a grievance or if you anticipate a potential situation with a client or former client that may lead to a grievance.

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We’re here to help!

Gretchen K. Mote, Esq.
Director of Loss Prevention
Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Co.
Direct:  614 572 0620
[email protected] 
Monica Waller, Esq.
Senior Loss Prevention Counsel
Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Co.
Direct:  614 859 2978
[email protected]