For Washington lawyers who are also licensed in Idaho, the Idaho Supreme Court recently amended its licensing rule to soon require malpractice insurance for lawyers in private practice.
The amended rule — Idaho Bar Commission Rule 302(a)(5) — becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018, and lawyers who are completing their licensing renewals this fall should expect to see questions concerning coverage on the renewal forms. Under the amended version of the rule, lawyers in private practice will need to maintain professional liability insurance with minimum limits of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 as an annual aggregate.
In doing so, Idaho joins Oregon regionally in requiring malpractice insurance for lawyers in private practice. Oregon requires lawyers in private practice to carry coverage with at least a $300,000 annual aggregate. Alaska currently does not require coverage but does require written disclosure by lawyers in private practice to clients under Alaska RPC 1.4(c) if the lawyer does not maintain insurance with limits of at least $100,000 per claim and a $300,000 annual aggregate.
As discussed in the September issue of NWLawyer, Washington is in the preliminary stages of examining whether lawyers in private practice should be required to maintain some level of malpractice coverage.