An Important Message to Our Valued Clients and Friends Please take a moment to read about the changes in the law that affect our firm and our clients.
As you are aware, our firm was founded more than 60 years ago. Like many of our clients and friends, we recognized the advantages of operating our business in the corporate form and our lawyers eventually elected to practice as a service corporation - a limited liability entity. The firm officially received this designation in 1988.
Shareholders in service corporations are generally not individually responsible for debts of the service corporation. Until recently, however, shareholders of Wisconsin service corporations providing legal services could be held responsible not only for their own errors and omissions but also for those of their colleagues. Such "vicarious liability" applied even if the shareholder/lawyer did not participate in the engagement or supervise those lawyers responsible for the errors or omissions that occurred.
In 1997, the Wisconsin legislature and Wisconsin Supreme Court acted to change these rules. Under the new rules, lawyers practicing in various kinds of law firms, including service corporations, will no longer be personally liable for the errors and omissions of others provided they satisfy certain requirements. In addition to providing you with this required explanation of the changes, we are satisfying the following requirements of the Wisconsin Supreme Court rules: registering annually with the State Bar of Wisconsin; maintaining minimum levels of professional liability insurance coverage (our insurance levels continue to far exceed these minimums); and including a designation of "service corporation" in our name - which we have done since 1988 with the designation "s.c."
You continue to be protected by the firm's malpractice insurance policy and the assets of the firm. Additionally, the lawyer who represents you will continue to be responsible for his or her negligence in the course of your representation as well as that of any lawyer whom he or she supervises. However, because of the new limits on vicarious liability, you may no longer look to the personal assets of the other shareholders in the firm who were not involved in your case.
While it is important that you understand these changes, rest assured that nothing has changed in our firm's commitment to providing you with the highest quality legal services possible. Earning your continued trust and loyalty is our number one priority. Should you have any questions or concerns about the information contained in this message, please contact us at 414-271-7722.