Cal Watson

Cal Watson

Committee Chair Corner – Professional Liability Committee
Cal Watson
Sowell Gray Robinson Stepp & Laffitte, LLC

The Professional Liability Committee addresses a wide variety of issues that arise from the relationship between professionals and their clients. The term “professional” is a broad term that could apply to lawyers; accountants; architects; corporate directors and officers; insurance and real estate brokers and agents; and appraisers; among others. Whether you represent professionals in disputes with their clients or you represent professionals in any other matter, this Committee can provide guidance and valuable resources necessary to help you maneuver your clients through difficult circumstances that often arise. And since all IADC members are professionals themselves, this Committee truly offers something for everyone! 

I have had the great pleasure of serving as Chair of the Professional Liability Committee for the past two years. Special thanks to a talented group of Vice Chairs who have done an outstanding job in advancing the Committee.

These Vice Chairs include:

  1. Programs and Projects: Timothy J. Gephart
  2. Membership: Michael D. Crim
  3. Publications: Thomas M. Buckley
  4. Diversity: John B. Drummy
  5. International: Brian Christopher McSharry
  6. Webinar: Kristi Ann Lush
  7. Communications: James "Jimmy" G. Long

In addition to our Vice Chairs and the many committed Committee members, I also appreciate the efforts of Barry Kaiman who coordinated our internal programs at the 2017 and 2018 Midyear Meetings, and Mike Brown, who has been a valuable “go-to” for me over the last two years.

I also want to highlight a few of the recent activities of the Professional Liability Committee. At the Midyear Meeting in February, the Committee sponsored an outstanding program entitled “Ethical and Fiduciary Obligations Confronting Professionals in Protecting Their Clients’ Records and Files from Unauthorized Disclosure by Data Breach.” Panelists Gordon Calhoun, Barry Kaiman, and Melissa Ventrone presented an excellent discussion highlighting some of the duties and obligations that professionals face as data breaches – and the possibility of data breaches – dramatically change the world around us. (Remember that the term “professional” includes all of us!)

Our recent March Committee Newsletter examines a number of current issues, including two recent ABA Formal Opinions, a discussion about ethical uncertainties for cannabis lawyers, and a preview of several potential ethical issues lurking around the corner.   

One other project that is closely intertwined with the Professional Liability Committee is the Professional Liability Roundtable, which will be held at the University of Chicago on May 17. The program, entitled “Monsters in the Closet,” will examine three current and pertinent issues: (1) cyber liability risk (“cyber monsters”); (2) diminished capacity of professionals (monsters we pretend do not exist); and (3) artificial intelligence (“monsters” or helpful friends?). The planning group has put together three excellent panels for this half-day program. If your plans allow, please join us in Chicago on May 17. We promise a great program! The registration link can be found here.

The Professional Liability Committee has something to offer everyone, and we welcome your participation. We are always in search of new members and new ideas for Newsletters, programs, and/or Webinars. If you wish to join us or just need more information, please reach out to me or any of the Vice Chairs with your ideas or questions. I very much appreciate the opportunity to serve the IADC as Chair of this important Committee. 

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