The Litigation, Ethics and Malpractice Group devotes it efforts to issues involving trust, estate and fiduciary litigation matters (these include probate disputes; will and trust construction; accounting disputes; breach of fiduciary duty claims; and other controverted issues involving the administration of individual and charitable estates and trusts). We also address ethics issues affecting trust and estate lawyers and malpractice issues (including malpractice avoidance) that may affect them. Our Group remains focused on educating members on national trends in these areas through efforts such as CLE program and and articles. Where appropriate, our Group assists other Section Groups in analyzing litigation, ethics or malpractice disputes that may affect estate planning, administration or any other litigation or controversy issue germane to the Section's mission. We hold quarterly conference calls that will be listed on on this website.
This Group consists of the following three Committees:
1. Ethics and Malpractice Committee
- Co-Chairs -- David Lieberman and Julia Meister
- Mission -- This committee reviews the changing role of the lawyer in modern estate planning, and evaluates the potential liabilities of the estate lawyer to clients and others arising out of a modern trusts and estates law practice. The committee will also assess insurance or other methods of financial protection for the practitioner. The committee also focuses on the changing developments in the ethical rules affecting both the estate planner and the probate litigator.
- Join the committee
2. Probate and Fiduciary Litigation Committee
- Chair -- Crystal Patterson
- Vice-Chairs -- Paul Fisher, Kenneth Lackey, and Rebecca Wallenfelsz
- Mission -- This committee reviews developments related to estate and trust litigation, including will contests, surcharge litigation, contested guardianships and conservatorships and alternative dispute resolution. It studies selected issues, such as the right to a jury trial and the availability of punitive damages. The committee also analyzes specific evidentiary questions (for example, attorney-client relationships, attorney-work product and ethical and conflict of interest issues in the field). The committee publishes information for Section members on these topics, and participates in or sponsors Section CLE programs.
- Join the committee
3. Alternate Dispute Resolution
- Chair -- Steven K. Mignogna
- Vice-Chairs -- Robert D. Steele and Matthew Triggs
- Mission -- This committee was formed in recognition of the importance to our practices of the quickly evolving world of ADR, with emphasis on the role it plays in resolving trust and estate disputes. The committee also addresses the drafting and use of specific provisions for arbitration and mediation in estate planning documents and other family agreements. The committee creates and promotes CLE programs and publications which focus on or involve developments in ADR related to probate and fiduciary disputes. The committee tracks emerging trends as well as practice pointers, and is a forum for the discussion of the resolution of disputes, either before or after litigation has commenced, whether through mediation, arbitration or otherwise.
- Join the committee.