Skip to Content

When a layperson needs assistance, they turn to professionals; but who can the professionals turn to when they themselves are accused of negligence or other malfeasance?

Schnader attorneys have significant experience advising and representing attorneys, engineers, and other professionals when their livelihood is on the line and their judgement is questioned. Our experience in professional liability falls into two broad categories: Professional Liability Defense, and Professional Ethics Advice and Consultation.

Professional Liability Defense

Our attorneys have extensive experience defending claims against lawyers, engineers, accountants, and many other professionals. For example, in just the past few years, the firm has defended several Am Law 100 firms with respect to claims as diverse as alleged professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and even violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). Attorneys at Schnader also have experience defending architects and engineers in claims of negligent design, as well as defending accountants against claims of professional negligence in both tax and audit work.

Representative matters include:

Legal Malpractice

  • Represented an Am Law 100 law firm with respect to allegations of negligence in the creation of a series of trusts.
  • Defended an Am Law 100 law firm from claims asserting conspiracy, fraud, and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
  • Represented a law firm with respect to claims of conflicts of interest as between settlors and beneficiaries of a trust, and the trustees of that trust.
  • Defended a law firm against claims of misrepresentations to third parties.
  • Defended an Am Law 100 law firm against allegations of professional malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty brought by the bankruptcy trustee of one of the firm’s former clients, which resulted in a successful settlement.
  • Represented a major Pittsburgh law firm in multi-district litigation over the firm’s involvement in the issuance of several billions of dollars of municipal bonds.
  • Represented an international law firm in lawsuits in Philadelphia and New York City in which limited partners in real estate limited partnerships claimed that the firm had mishandled IRS disputes because of an alleged loyalty to the tax partners, which they characterized as a conflict of interest.
  • Represented a mid-size law firm in defending an action alleging malpractice in the handling of certain funds of the client.
  • Represented several intellectual property lawyers and law firms in malpractice litigation over patentability advice and litigation errors in state and federal courts in Philadelphia. Won every case on motions, including those which made new law.
  • Represented a sole practitioner in defending an action alleging malpractice in the preparation and trial of an underlying case involving eminent domain.

Accountant Liability

  • Defended a major accounting firm against a series of claims that the firm violated professional standards in tax and audit work.

Engineers / Architects / Design Professionals

  • Defended an engineering firm from allegations of professional negligence and breach of contract with respect to the design and construction management of a municipal solid waste landfill.
  • Defended various defendants in lawsuit for negligent repairs to helicopter engine allegedly causing crash of a helicopter operated by US Customs and Border Patrol.
  • Represented an engineering firm with respect to allegations of an employee’s conflicts of interest.

Professional Ethics Advice and Consultation

Clients also routinely consult with Schnader regarding professional ethics or possible violations. The firm is often asked to offer opinions regarding conflicts of interest, the interplay between the duties of candor and confidentiality, and other ethical issues. Our attorneys also have served on the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board’s Hearing Committee, which reviews the disposition of disciplinary complaints and conducts disciplinary and reinstatement hearings on behalf of the Board.