Professional Liability Defense


Numerous team members have received the distinction of Super Lawyers or Rising Stars in the field of "Professional Liability: Defense."

Best Lawyers in America: Professional Liability 2012 Lawyer of the Year

Professional Liability Defense

The Professional Liability Defense Group has extensive experience in the defense of attorneys, health care providers, architects, engineers, dentists, accountants, directors and officers, real estate brokers and agents, insurance brokers and financial planners. Gordon & Rees represents professionals under insurers' errors and omissions policies and also directly when the professional is self-insured.

With experience in all aspects of professional liability defense, attorneys in the group are well qualified to handle sensitive issues of confidentiality, the impact of the case on the professional's ongoing practice, and the need to work closely with the client in litigation strategy and settlement. A result-oriented, cost-effective approach to the defense of malpractice claims is emphasized. At the outset of representation, the assigned attorney works with the client to develop a strategy and a budget for the case. The Gordon & Rees attorney then works aggressively and closely with the client for a successful disposition.


Gordon & Rees's Professional Liability attorneys have vast knowledge and understanding of auditing and accounting principles making them extremely well equipped to defend against all types of liability claims including those based upon financial reporting, tax work and business consulting. Our attorneys have successfully litigated cases in the state and federal court systems in both civil and bankruptcy courts at the trial and appellate levels.

Our clients range from sole practitioners to large accounting firms to their insurance carriers. By nature, accounting claims are often technical. Our accountant malpractice attorneys are fluent in the language of accounting and fully conversant with the standards that the industry must adhere to. Furthermore, they are familiar with accounting and auditing documents and financial statements of all types and stay updated on changes in GAAP, GAAS, and relevant tax laws necessary to defend our clients.

Matters we have handled include:

  • alleged errors and omissions
  • fraud relating to the provision of accounting services
  • conspiracy
  • breach of fiduciary duty
  • failure to properly audit financial statements
  • loss of independent status
  • failure to detect embezzlement
  • poor tax advice or errors in consulting
  • failure to prepare tax returns properly
  • failure to advise a client of suspected fraud
  • failure to properly advise a client on the tax consequences of an estate (or negligently preparing tax advice)
  • failure to advise a client as to whether they should file for bankruptcy (and ensuing malpractice for doing it incorrectly)
  • failure to properly administer distributions or miscalculating distributions for a charitable foundation
  • failure to properly administer a company's trust account (in which a partner was stealing clients' monies)
  • failure to timely file tax returns and/or file for extension
  • failure to properly follow accounting standards in preparing audits (which resulted in lack of cross checks) resulting in continuing fraud by a wrongdoer (i.e., bookkeeper, CFO, management member, board member et al).

The firm has also handled matters involving allegations of improper selection, installation and implementation of accounting software.

Additionally, we have represented accounting clients in securities suits, including class actions, and have represented accountants before professional boards with respect to licensing, client disputes, and ethical issues.

We believe that many claims can be avoided by assisting our clients in properly managing the risks of the accounting profession. To that end, a key component of our practice is counseling accounting firms on loss prevention strategies, including the proper use of engagement letters and client contracts, file management and conflict checks, and professional liability policies and coverage issues. We assist accountants when subpoenaed as witnesses and/or custodians of records in third party litigation as these are often, but not always, precursors to a claim.

Architects and Engineers

Gordon & Rees is skilled in representing and defending architects and engineers as individual professionals, design professional firms, design joint ventures and design teams. Matters include claims arising out of alleged errors and omissions related to the provision of professional services on numerous types of projects, including commercial, industrial and residential developments, airports, hospitals, universities, jails, bridges, dams and power plants. The firm also offers risk avoidance counseling designed to assist design professionals in preventing future litigation.


Gordon & Rees's broker-dealer group has well-proven experience with the complete range of regulatory and market issues facing full-service, discount, and on-line broker-dealers, as well a broker-dealer affiliates of insurance companies, hedge funds, banks, and other diversified financial services companies that offer investment management and brokerage services. The group also has a strong track record in handling associated parallel proceedings, concurrent private claims, class actions/multi-jurisdiction cases, and criminal investigations.

The FINRA arbitration defense team works closely with the firm's securities transactions lawyers, but the defense team is strategically comprised of trial lawyers because success in FINRA arbitrations depends on attorneys with the ability to present witnesses and evidence to a "jury" of arbitrators who are not exclusively securities professionals. The group's trial expertise includes complex sales practices and consumer fraud actions for unregulated life, health and disability insurance products, which involves similar legal theories and issues.

Directors and Officers

Gordon & Rees has extensive experience in defending claims brought against corporate directors and officers. The firm has handled D&O claims running the gamut from shareholder derivative suits to claims of breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing, usurpation of corporate opportunities, unlawful distribution of corporate assets, employment-related and other torts, alter ego claims, and a wide variety of breach of contract and commercial litigation. The firm has represented directors and officers in state and federal courts throughout California, as well as in administrative proceedings, arbitrations, and before courts of appeal. The wide breadth of experience and expertise possessed by the attorneys at Gordon & Rees makes the firm well-suited to handle all varieties of D&O claims.

Health Care Providers

The Health Care Defense Group is devoted to the defense of health care providers, both insured and self-insured. The firm has successfully defended cases at trial, arbitration and on appeal against health maintenance organizations, hospitals, doctors, nurses, surgical clinics, long term care facilities and other providers. The Group also has experience in health care related unfair competition matters and with State Medical Board and hospital administrative proceedings.

Insurance Brokers and Agents

Gordon & Rees has represented insurance brokers and agents in a wide variety of actions alleging errors and omissions involving various types of insurance policies. The lawyers who have represented insurance brokers and agents have acquired extensive experience representing primary, excess and life insurers and claims management organizations in negligence, fraud and bad faith actions.


The attorneys in the Professional Liability Defense Practice Group have defended hundreds of legal malpractice cases over many years. The firm has represented legal professionals ranging from some of the largest law firms in the country to sole practitioners involving a wide variety of legal specialties and underlying claims and transactions.

The Group is well qualified to handle sensitive issues of confidentiality and the impact of the case on the lawyer's on-going practice. The Group's lawyers have the experience necessary to recognize cases in which attempts should be made to resolve the matter as soon as possible, and the team also has the experience to successfully defend cases and recover fees owed to the legal professional.

Real Estate Brokers and Agents

Gordon & Rees has represented both national and local real estate brokers and agents in actions involving negligence, fraud and contractual issues. The firm's attorneys have extensive experience in both commercial and residential matters as well as representing real estate professionals before administrative boards such as the California Board of Realtors and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Gordon & Rees has also represented brokers and agents involved in trade secret and business competition actions. The firm has the additional advantage of having experienced real estate transactional attorneys who can offer on-the-spot answers to sophisticated real estate related issues.

Professional Liability Defense Fast Facts
  • 98 Attorneys
  • Team includes a member of the Colorado Bar Association Professional Liability Committee and a National Legal Malpractice Data Center Associate for the American Bar Association.
  • Extensive state and federal appellate experience recognized by membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Faculty of Federal Advocates, and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.
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