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President's Message
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Timothy J. Gephart, CPCU
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company
333 South 7th Street
Suite 2200
Minneapolis, MN  55402

As the newly elected President of the Professional Liability Defense Federation, I can say that it is a truly exciting time in our field, and an exciting time for PLDF.  If you attended our September 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, you understand!


As the Vice-President of Claims of Minnesota Lawyers Mutual, a company that insures lawyers in 15 states, I value the benefits of PLDF membership, including the timely and informative articles in the PLDF Quarterly, the resources available on the PLDF website, and the opportunity to network with defense lawyers at our annual meeting.  I encourage every lawyer who works in the professional liability space, whether as a claim professional or as defense counsel, to join PLDF and attend our annual meeting.  I guarantee that if you attend one of our annual meetings, you too will become a PLDF booster.  Put the dates on your calendar now!  We will be in Chicago from September 27-29, 2017.        


The professional liability space continues to grow and to diversify.  When PLDF was founded, professional liability had a distinct focus on the traditional learned professions.  Now, beneath our broad tent are literally hundreds of miscellaneous classes of “professionals”.  Where there is a license to be issued, there is a standard of care to be met.  Where there is a standard of care to be met, there is PLDF.


Employment Practices Liability shows no signs of fading, as increasingly attorneys and claims professionals find that there is enough of this often complex and always challenging work to sustain a full-time subspecialty.   Executive liability and D&O are also booming, largely in the private and not-for-profit arena, including the homeowners’ associations governing the growing number of people living in community-based housing.  In the medical arena, our aging population has meant a boom in professional liability exposures involving the delivery of medical and allied health care.   Meanwhile, the LPL market is predicting a spike in claims against lawyers practicing in the areas of estate planning, trust administration, and probate.


And this is to say nothing of the latest gate crasher: Cyber and Technology, plus Electronic Media exposures, which are both stand-alone concerns as well as risks intrinsic to professional practices and to practitioners themselves.  


From a skills standpoint, the scarcity of trial opportunities and the increasing unwillingness of clients to allow more than a single attorney to participate at trial will continue to challenge the profession – an area in which PLDF has been able to contribute and will most certainly focus its attention in the years to come through its educational programming.  


From an ethics standpoint, pervasive and often intrusive social media have blurred the margins surrounding public and private information.   Investigations, discovery, and jury selection are subject to new and still-evolving rules and manners.  


PLDF also is ever mindful of the practical business challenges confronting its members in private practice and in industry.  We typically include an educational program keyed to best business development and client maintenance practices during each of our Annual Meetings.  And we will continue to provide educational sessions directly aimed at fulfilling the needs of our industry members.


PLDF understands these many opportunities and challenges.  It is committed to excellence in the management, defense, and resolution of professional liability claims. Through its educational programming and publications, PLDF seeks to set the pace in advancing our core values in the dynamic, new, and challenging landscape of professional liability risks.


Please tell your friends, colleagues, classmates, and clients about PLDF.   We are growing steadily and healthily, with roughly a 2:1 ratio of practicing attorneys to claims professionals.  By increasing both the size and diversity of our community you will be investing in our future, in our capacity to continue delivering rich and relevant content, and in our role as the premier network of professional liability risk managers, claim professionals, and defenders. 


And if you are already a member, make a pledge to yourself in 2017 to submit an article for the Quarterly, and to attend the September 2017 Annual Meeting.  You will reap a lot of rewards. 


Timothy J. Gephart, CPCU, Vice President – Claims, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company




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