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9/30/2020 » 10/2/2020
2020 PLDF Annual Meeting

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W. B. Montgomery Jr.Kalbaugh Pfund & Messersmith Richmond, VA
Kelly A. PutneyBassford Remele, Minneapolis, MN

President's Message
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Lisa Tulk
2019-2020 PLDF President
Kessler Collins PC
2100 Ross Avenue, #750, Dallas, TX 75201
214-378-0737, ltulk@kesslercollins.com

First Quarter 2020

Greetings PLDF Members! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and has had a roaring start to 2020.

I write to you at present from an airport on my way back from the PLDF Board of Directors’ annual winter working retreat, this year held just outside of Ft. Myers, Florida. As always, the Board was glad to have the opportunity to get together in person and set aside several days to discuss things we can do to deliver as much value to our membership as possible.

One concern raised during this year’s retreat, however, was whether our members are both aware of and fully taking advantage of the current programs and offerings which make the PLDF a truly different group than some of the other professional liability organizations we all belong to.

For starters, membership in the PLDF is free for claims professionals, which provides industry members access to PLDF publications such as the Professional Liability Defense Quarterly and the new PLDF Survey of Law, year-round practice committee events, reduced price attendance at the Annual Meeting, and opportunities to obtain CE/CLE credit across numerous jurisdictions. Multiple claims professionals have told me that they find working with PLDF’s members valuable as it serves not only as an indication of competence within the defense sphere, but also provides a greater measure of assurance that defense counsel will maintain the level of accountability insurers demand. Others enjoy the opportunity that attending the Annual Meeting gives them to spend time with counsel they already work with, and scout for prospective counsel among attorney attendees without being subjected to the “feeding frenzy”-type atmosphere that they have encountered at gatherings of other defense-oriented groups. Nearly one-third of the PLDF’s more than 500 members are industry professionals, and we are always happy to welcome more.

For defense counsel, membership in the PLDF provides not only the same benefits as to insurance industry members, but additionally provides access to a dedicated network of professional liability defense counsel and claims professionals across the country—a hugely valuable resource both for members seeking competent counsel in other states and as a source of referrals from other members—for a reasonable annual fee.

Among some of the subtler benefits of PLDF membership, however, is the nearly unparalleled access to opportunities to assume leadership roles, publish high-quality articles in the PLDF’s highly-regarded Quarterly, and develop and present panels at the Annual Meeting. For both industry and attorney members alike, firms and carriers generally like to see their representatives engaging in activities which substantially contribute back to the professional liability community. PLDF members may contribute original articles of interest for inclusion in the Quarterly at any time by submitting them either to Sandra Wulf (sandra@pldf.org) or to the Quarterly’s Editor-In-Chief, Pat Eckler (deckler@pretzel-stouffer.com). The call for speaker proposals for the Annual Meeting was issued on January 22nd, and all members are encouraged to put together a panel on a topic of interest and submit it to Sandra Wulf by March 2, 2020 for consideration for inclusion in this year’s upcoming Annual Meeting in Nashville. Any members interested in either leading one of the PLDF’s eight practice area committees or getting involved as a director of the PLDF will have their opportunity this summer to do so, as we will begin soliciting applications for new leaders (who will take office at the Annual Meeting) at that time. For presentations which you may not want to designate for the Annual Meeting, members should always feel free to contact the leaders of their practice committee to perhaps consider hosting a committee-level presentation instead.

Members can also take advantage of the publicity opportunities being active in the PLDF can provide. Published articles in the Professional Liability Defense Quarterly are posted in searchable form on the PLDF website, and are frequently republished on the PLDF LinkedIn page. And speaking of the PLDF LinkedIn page, we are always looking for reasons to celebrate our members. If you have a recent case of interest, a big litigation victory, or other news which you would like to share with a larger audience, please let Sandra Wulf know!

Another resource which goes—surprisingly—largely underused is the PLDF’s amicus program. If you have a case on appeal with questions of law important to the professional liability defense bar, why not submit it to the PLDF for consideration of an amicus brief? With dedicated funding set aside for the program, the PLDF is able to give you a little extra muscle at the appellate table to try and help shape the law surrounding the professional liability issues that are common to its member’s practices.

Finally, as many members who regularly attend the Annual Meeting can attest, the PLDF offers remarkable opportunities to develop long-lasting professional and personal relationships as well as receive high-quality CE/CLE in a fun environment. When I first attended the Annual Meeting, it was mostly to see what the PLDF was about and meet my annual education requirements. But I, like others, quickly realized that the Annual Meeting was a great opportunity to meet new defense counsel and industry professionals, spend quality time with claims professionals I already work with, and develop a national network of other attorneys I trust enough to refer clients to when they require counsel in jurisdictions where I do not practice (and become part of that network for other member to use). Many attendees return year after year, and the Annual Meeting has proven to be a “can’t miss” event on many calendars.

There are additional benefits to membership that I am sure I am overlooking. In fact, I regularly ask active members both what drew them to the PLDF initially and what spurred them to get actively involved in the organization and nearly every time I get an answer I didn’t expect. The common thread, however, seems to be that membership is valuable but, like most things worth having, what you get out of it tends to correlate with what effort you put in. Members who take advantage of the opportunities offered by the PLDF seem, at least anecdotally, to reap the most benefit from membership.

On that note, I encourage each of you to take full advantage of the benefits your PLDF membership offers, and to let me, your committee leaders, or any other member of the PLDF board know if there is anything we can do to make your membership more valuable to you. I would also suggest that if you find value in the PLDF that you encourage other professional liability colleagues to consider joining as well. Our goals as an organization include raising the bar for the professional liability defense community, and we are always pleased to be able to extend that reach to new members.

With that, I will sign off for now. I wish the best of luck to each of you in the new year, and I hope to see each of you at the Annual Meeting September 30 – October 2 in Nashville!


About the Author

Lisa Tulk of Kessler Collins, P.C. in Dallas is the current President of PLDF. Her practice focuses on the counseling and defense of architects, engineers, financial advisory firms and accountants. She may be reached at ltulk@kesslercollins.com.

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