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2020 PLDF Annual Meeting
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 Export to Your Calendar 10/2/2020
When: October 2, 2020
1:00 - 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Where: United States
Contact: Sandra Wulf

Online registration is available until: 10/2/2020
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PLDF is Going Virtual

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Professional Liability Defense Federation will be held virtually. PLDF's Virtual Annual Meeting will be held Friday, October 2, 2020 from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. EST (12:00 CST; 11:00 MST; 10:00 PST). Make plans to join us for the membership meeting, outstanding speakers, insightful programming, and opportunities to collaborate with your fellow professional liability colleagues.

Mission Level Sponsor

Continuing their support of the PLDF as a Mission Level Sponsor, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company will host the PLDF Virtual Annual Meeting on our behalf. We are very thankful for their continued support of and involvement in the association.

Annual Membership Meeting

The PLDF Membership Meeting will kick off our Annual Meeting. This brief meeting will include review of the membership and financial standing of the association, election of the Board of Directors, recognition of committee leaders, and will provide all PLDF members with an opportunity to learn about the association and our goals for the future.

Featured Presentations

Exploring Pre-Suit Settlement in a High Stakes/Media Legal Malpractice Claim

Panelists: Jennifer Groszek, JD, ProQuest, a division of Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., Chicago; Christopher Vlasich, JD, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Chicago; and, Jennifer W. Wolak, JD, Fields Howell LLP, Atlanta

In this presentation, our featured panelists will discuss the considerations for insureds, defense counsel and claims professionals as they relate to pre-suit settlements. The challenges of evaluating exposure pre-suit, without discovery, and assessing the value of early resolution as well as timing to best leverage an early resolution will be addressed. Attendees can expect a robust discussion of the pros and cons of a “wait and see approach” versus early resolution.


Past is Prologue: the Coming COVID-19 Investor Claims Tsunami

Panelists: Michelle ArbitrioWood Smith Henning Berman, New York, NY; J. Peter Glaws, IV, Carr Maloney, PC, Washington, D.C.;  Alexandra Gulledge, QBE North America, Plano, TX; and, Gary Kessler, Kessler Collins, P.C., Dallas, TX

We’ve seen it before: the Great Recession, the Madoff Scandal, the High-Tech Meltdown, the Savings & Loan Debacle. These and other financial downs led to tidal waves of investor claims. Can we use what we learned from these events to predict the magnitude of claims likely to come from the COVID-19 systemic shutdown of the U.S. economy? Will it dwarf the others, combined?

Featured Speakers

Michelle Arbitrio is the managing partner of Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman’s White Plains, NY office. She is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney who is vastly experienced as a litigator in state and federal courts in New York and Connecticut. A recognized thought leader in the areas of directors and officers, errors and omissions, and employment practices litigation, Michelle is the current chair of the Professional Liability Defense Federation’s Insurance Agent/Broker Claims Committee. Michelle is frequently published in the New York Law Journal and other renowned publications. She is also often consulted and quoted as an expert in business, insurance and claims publications. Michelle has received countless awards for excellence in litigation management and client service.

J. Peter Glaws, IV is a Partner with Carr Maloney P.C. in Washington, D.C. where he focuses his practice on complex commercial disputes (including professional liability defense, complex construction litigation, corporate disputes, estate and trust litigation), and intellectual property and technology law (copyright and trademark infringement cases). Peter regularly represents accountants, lawyers, architects, and other professionals including international, national, and regional accounting firms in disputes arising out of complex auditing, tax, consulting, and other accounting services. Peter represents law firms of all sizes and represents professionals before state and national licensing and regulatory bodies such as state bar authorities, boards of accountancy, inspectors general, and federal agencies.

Jennifer Groszek, JD is  a Vice President with ProQuest, a division of Alliant in Chicago. Jennifer provides risk management, consulting, and claims management and resolution services to a broad array of clients across the U.S. Ms. Groszek has more than 15 years of experience as an attorney, claims specialist, and business consultant. Prior to joining ProQuest, Ms. Groszek was a Claims Consultant and Attorney managing high-exposure D&O and E&O liability claims for a broad range of clients. Ms. Groszek, who began her career as an Assistant State's Attorney, also has extensive experience with toxic tort and environmental law.

Alexandra (Alex) Gulledge is a Senior Claims Technical Specialist for QBE North America. She is responsible for handling professional liability claims involving accountants and wealth management advisors. Alex also has experience in handling claims for a wide variety of other professionals, including real estate agents, title companies, mortgage lenders, long-term care providers, and insurance agents and brokers. In addition, her background has focused on the handling of cyber claims involving professionals. Prior to joining QBE, Alex began her career as an Attorney at Vial, Hamilton, Koch and Knox. During her tenure, she focused on insurance litigation and coverage matters involving both standard and professional lines. Following private practice, Alex has spent the last 25 years working as claims counsel for various insurers, where she handled a broad variety and complex mix of professional liability claims and coverage matters. Alex earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. She is a member of several professional liability organizations, including Professional Liability Defense Federation, where she serves as Vice Chair of the Miscellaneous Professional/Cyber Liability Committee.

Gary Kessler is Chairman of Kessler Collins PC. He is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law. He has been named in the Best Lawyers in America for over twenty-five years and has been named a “Super Lawyer” for over twenty years. He has represented major financial institutions, and insurers (both domestic and foreign). Gary is a frequent lecturer for industry groups and is an instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He is a member of the Dallas Inns of Court, an organization whose principal mission is to teach young attorneys the value of ethical advocacy in a litigation practice. Gary is a fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation and Dallas Bar Foundation.

Christopher Vlasich, JD is AVP, Regional Complex Director for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty in Chicago. Christopher is a graduate of Michigan State University, Honors College (1999, BA) and Case Western Reserve University School of Law (2002, JD). After law school, Christopher practiced law in Cleveland for eight years, specializing in professional malpractice litigation, until he joined the insurance industry in 2010. As the North American Complex Claims Director for Financial Lines at Allianz, he is responsible for various lines, including D&O, E&O, EPL, Cyber, and Transactional Risk claims.

Jennifer W. Wolak, JD is a Partner with Fields Howell, LLP in Atlanta, where she serves as coverage and monitoring counsel for numerous U.S. and London-based insurance carriers. Her practice focuses primarily on professional liability claims, especially legal malpractice claims brought against large U.S. law firms and their attorneys. In addition to her coverage and monitoring work, Jennifer also has significant direct defense and appellate litigation experience, representing clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts as well as arbitration.

Continuing Legal Education

Attendees will have the opportunity to earn CLE Credit in the following jurisdictions: CA, FL, IL, MN, NJ, NY, PA, and TX.

Trivia Challenge and Zoom Yoga

The Young Professionals Committee (YPC) will help us kick off the Annual Meeting with a virtual Happy Hour and Trivia Challenge. Put your thinking cap on, grab your favorite beverage, and join in the fun - October 1 at 6:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.

NAMASTE, Friends! The YPC will also host Zoom Yoga in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. Start your day off right with a little exercise with your fellow PLDF members. Zoom Yoga will be held Friday, October 2 at 9:00 a.m. RSVP here.

Committee Get Togethers

The Committee Luncheons have long been a highlight of our in-person Annual Meetings. Though we can't get together in person this year, we want to ensure that our members continue to have the opportunity to gather, meet others in their practice area, learn about the committees and, if interested, get plugged in to volunteering.

With this in mind, our committees will be hosting Zoom Get Togethers the week of September 28 and October 5. RSVP for our Committee Get Togethers here. Following is the current schedule of Get Togethers:

Monday, September 28, 2020

  • D&O / Trustee E&O Committee Get Together, 1:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

  • Financial Professionals Committee Get Together, 1:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

  • Lawyers Professional Liability Claims Committee Get Together, 1:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

  • Young Professionals Committee Get Together, 1:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.
  • Real Estate Design/Agents Committee Get Together, 3:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.
  • EPL Claims Committee Get Together, 4:30 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.
Monday, October 5, 2020
  • Insurance Agent/Broker Claims Committee Get Together, 1:00 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.
  • Healthcare Malpractice Claims Committee Get Together, 3:30 p.m. (EST). RSVP here.

Friday Happy Hour

To wrap up the Annual Meeting this year, we will host a virtual happy hour immediately following our Annual Meeting (it's 5:00 somewhere, right?!?). Join us as we wind down the week and network with your PLDF family. RSVP here.

Invest in Your Professional Development

Opportunities for virtual programming abound. BUT, what is often missing is quality content. PLDF substantive programming will be presented by the best and brightest in the professional liability community and will be offered at a reasonable rate. Registration for the Annual Meeting is $50 for members ($65 for non-members).

Register today using the link at the top of the page. Once you have registered on this site, you will be given a link to the Minnesota Lawyers Mutual webinar platform to complete the registration process. Any questions, just give us a call at 309-222-8947 or email us at

We'll Be Back Together Soon!

We cannot wait to get together again in person and have already begun planning for our 2021 Annual Meeting. Please make plans to join us in Nashville, TN, October 6-8, 2021!

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