2021 Professional Liability Seminar Agenda

Professional Liability Seminar

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Time (Eastern) Program
6:00 p.m. Registration and Networking Reception

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Time (Eastern) Program
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Christopher T. Sheean, Swanson Martin & Bell, Chicago, IL
Kim Noble, Thompson Flanagan LLC, Chicago, IL
8:10 a.m. The COVID Effect: What to Expect from Trial Practice in the New Normal

Prior to the COVID-related pauses in litigation, verdicts were rising disproportionately to actual damages. As trial practice resumes, experts discuss what strategies will return and which were potentially derailed by the stoppage. This presentation delves into the return to litigation normalcy and explores tactics for diffusing and avoiding nuclear verdicts, including combatting the Reptile Theory, changing the narrative, and using targeted, early discovery.

Sean Pierce, Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, LLC, Birmingham, AL
David Wikstrom, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, Springfield, NJ
Elizabeth Mulligan, B&B Programs, Tampa, FL
9:10 a.m. No Guarantees: Liability Issues for Directors & Officers

Directors & officers are increasingly targeted in claims arising from financial transactions. How do issues beyond their control - pandemics, politics, acts by third parties – impact exposure? How to anticipate and mitigate the unexpected.

Sean Needham, Reminger Co., Cleveland, OH
Patricia O’Brien, Berkley Professional Liability, New York, NY
Robert Usinger, Intact Insurance, New York, NY
10:10 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:30 a.m. Diversity and Inclusion: If Not Us, Then Who? If Not Now, Then When?

This panel will discuss the specific challenges diverse attorneys face related to their hiring and retention on claims, and how insurance carriers and law firms can cultivate diversity and inclusion of counsel in professional liability.

Zandra E. Foley, Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons LLP, Houston, TX
Christina Marinakis, Litigation Insights, Baltimore, MD
Bella Kang, Axis Capital, New York, NY
11:30 a.m. Constructing Your Defense - A Real-Life Analysis of a Building Collapse

Building collapse cases implicate numerous professions. Understanding the parties’ roles and unwinding complex, multi-party issues is critical. This discussion tracks a real-life case to help you build the foundation of your defense.

Newton C. Marshall, Karbal, Cohen, Economou, Silk & Dunne LLC, Chicago, IL
Anthony Carolei, Hanover Insurance, Somerset, NJ
Richard E. King, Melchiode Marks King LLC, New Orleans, LA
12:30 p.m. Lunch (On your own)
2:00 p.m. KEYNOTE: Forewarned is Forearmed: Developments in Cybersecurity and Cyberterrorism for Professionals

Ransomware attacks are on the rise and more professional service companies are purchasing cyber insurance. But is insurance enough to protect firms and their clients from cyber-attacks? Are insurers inadvertently contributing to the growing vulnerability by paying to regain access to data and systems after a hacking attack? What is the government doing in response to this trend?

Kenneth Mendelson, Guidepost Solutions, Washington, DC
3:00 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:20 p.m. Business Interruption and Professional Liability – Anticipating a Post-Pandemic Liability Crisis

As courts continue to deny pandemic-related business interruption claims, plaintiffs’ attorneys are turning their sights to insurance agents and brokers and other professionals. As courts re-open their doors, certain professions may be more vulnerable to claims related to purported insurance deficiencies than others. This panel discusses potential avenues of liability and appropriate risk management measure to avoid shifting the blame.

Melody Jolly, Cranfill Sumner LLP, Wilmington, NC
Elizabeth Whitney, Swiss Re, Chicago, IL
Doug Richmond, Aon, Kansas City, MO
4:20 p.m. Returning to Normal: Handling Stress Like a PRO

Under normal conditions, our work can be extremely stressful, but the restrictions associated with the pandemic forced us to work under even more adverse conditions. Given that many of us are overachievers by nature, we forget the importance of allowing ourselves to rest. This session addresses the importance of taking moments throughout our day to check-in on ourselves and simply pause so that we can avoid falling victim to reactivity. In addition to addressing the importance of and the steps to self-care, the speaker will guide the group through a "PRO" (Pause, Relax, Open) meditation.

Courtney Shulnick, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C., Philadelphia, PA
5:20 p.m. Professional Liability Committee Meeting (Open to all)
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).

Friday, December 10, 2021

Time (Eastern) Program
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Jonathan R. Harwood, Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP, Hawthorne, NY
Kathryn S. Whitlock, Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP, Atlanta, GA
8:05 a.m. Claims Jeopardy: Your Issues (In the Form of a Question)

This year’s crowd-sourced claims roundtable again spans all professional lines. Don’t miss your chance to ask questions about coverage nightmares, claims headaches, panel counsel, burning limits, excess exposure, managing expectations, and more.

Joseph P. Garin, Lipson Neilson PC, Las Vegas, NV

Brett Arruda, CapSpecialty, Glastonbury, CT
Scott Barabash, Aspen Insurance, New York, NY
Kiera Goral, Swiss Re, New York, NY
Shea Sammons, ALPS, Missoula, MT
9:30 a.m. Designing A Succession Plan for Your Law Firm

63 percent of law firm partners aged 60 or older control at least ¼ of their firm revenue, yet most firms do not have succession plans in place. Is your firm prepared for its most active rainmaker to retire? This presentation takes a deep dive into succession planning and its challenges, along with best practices to develop a successful model to recruit and retain top talent and transition lawyers and clients through the process.

Camille Stell, Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services, Cary, NC
10:30 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:50 a.m. Come One, Come All! – Inviting Others to the “Party”

Learn to reduce exposure in professional liability claims by creatively identifying other parties to "share in the blame." Explore a broad range of obvious – and not-so-obvious – responsible parties to join at all stages of litigation.

Wilhelm Dingler, Bullivant Houser Bailey PC, Seattle, WA
William Holmes, Holmes & Company PC, Portland, OR
11:50 a.m. Anatomy of a Real Estate Claim – Chasing the Professionals in a Booming Market

Real estate is booming with transactions exceeding pre-recession levels causing real estate brokers, attorneys, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, surveyors, and closing agents to be very busy and exposed. Although each of these professionals has a unique role and duty in any transaction, the responsibilities may overlap creating disclosure, statutory, E&O, and compliance issues. Learn about the various causes of action, defenses, counter-strategies, and damages that arise in a deal gone bad.

Susan E. Cohen, Peabody & Arnold LLP, Boston, MA
12:50 p.m. Wrap Up and Adjourn

Registration and Hotel/Travel Information


DRI Member Pricing: $995
Non-Member Pricing: $1,195

DRI Member Pricing: $1,095
Non-Member Pricing: $1,295

DRI Member Pricing: $695
Non-Member Pricing: $695

Register by November 8, 2021 to receive the early registration rate. If you wish to have your name appear on the registration list distributed at the seminar and receive the course materials in advance, DRI must receive your registration by November 8, 2021. Registrations received after November 8, 2021 will be processed on-site.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.


Hotel and Travel

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811 7th Avenue 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019. Take advantage of the group rate of $399.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

  • Reserve Online
  • Contact the hotel directly at 212.581.1000 and mention DRI Seminars.

The hotel block is limited and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by November 8, 2021, to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after November 8, 2021 are subject to room and rate availability. A small portion of your room rate offsets the costs of the seminar.


Travel Discounts: DRI is pleased to announce that discounted air fares are available on various major air carriers for DRI seminar attendees. To receive these discounts, please contact Direct Travel Ltd., DRI’s official travel provider, at 800.840.0908. If you would like to have access to the DRI online travel booking tool, you must complete a Business Travel Profile form at www.dt.com. Within 24 business hours, you will receive information on accessing the system.