Professional Liability Defense

When professionals’ reputations are on the line, efficient and effective representation is of paramount importance. Gunster’s Professional Liability Defense Group has the experience and knowledge that is critical to successfully defending professionals.

For more than 30 years, Gunster attorneys have been defending lawyers, accountants, and other professionals and their reputations against claims for malpractice, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting, and related claims. Our attorneys have litigated professional liability claims in state and federal courts throughout Florida, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Stuart and Naples, as well as in multiple other state and federal courts around the nation. The firm’s Professional Liability Defense Group is composed of a diverse group of attorneys, including an attorney who has served as the firm’s general counsel, fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, several members of their local bar’s Professionalism Committees, a member of the Florida Bar Standing Committee for Professional Ethics, an attorney who has successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court, a former United States Senator and former clerks for federal district courts and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Our attorneys are well versed in and can advise lawyers and accountants on the myriad issues intertwined with professional liability litigation such as insurance coverage matters, partnership disputes, data theft, risk mitigation, and professional ethics.

Gunster’s Professional Liability Defense Group works closely with the firm’s other practice groups. For example, our attorneys work with the Appellate Practice Group from the inception of litigation, resolving difficult issues of record development and preservation, through trial and appeal. Our appellate lawyers include a former Florida Supreme Court Justice and a former Third District Court of Appeal Judge. Our attorneys also work closely with the firm’s Employment Practice Group to address any employment issues that may arise in the context of a case or in defending employment claims brought against the legal, accounting, and other professional firm’s we represent.

Representative Matters:

  • AMLAW 50 Firm – Malpractice claim by a federally-appointed receiver seeking more than $100,000,000 – U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • AMLAW 50 Firm – Negligence claim by receiver – U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • AMLAW 100 Firm – RICO claim brought by former client – U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • AMLAW 100 Firm – Pre-suit investigation
    • AMLAW 200 Firm – Malpractice claim by former client – Florida state court
    • AMLAW 200 Firm – Malpractice claim by former client – California state court
    • AMLAW 200 Firm – Expert witness negligence claim – Florida state court
    • AMLAW 200 Firm – Malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty – United States District Court of Maryland
    • AMLAW 200 Firm – Bankruptcy
    • AMLAW 200 Firm – Declaratory relief action and replevin action brought by client – Florida State Court
    • Local Florida Firm – Consulting on professional liability insurance coverage issues
    • National Accounting Firm – Audit negligence claim – Florida state court
    • National Accounting Firm – Professional negligence claims – Florida state court
    • National Accounting Firm – RICO case – Federal court
    • IP Boutique – Claims by former client alleging conflicts – U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
    • National IP Firm – Departing lawyer shareholder dispute – Florida state court
    • Plaintiff’s Securities Boutique – Departing lawyer, ethics and client confidence dispute – Florida state court
    • Local Florida Firm – Consulting on legal ethics issues
    • National Accounting Firm – Claims by Trustee – U.S. Bankruptcy Court
  • National Accounting Firm – Malpractice claim against lawyers and accounts – Florida state court
  • National Accounting Firm – Malpractice claim relating to consulting services – Florida state court

Liability Defense Testimonials:

Gunster “enjoys a very strong reputation for professional malpractice defense work.”

∼Chambers USA, 2016

“With our firm facing a complex, multimillion dollar suit in a ‘rocket docket’ court, we needed an experienced trial team that could efficiently assess the issues and then develop and implement a defense strategy. The Gunster Professional Liability Defense group was our ‘go to’ choice of counsel in the high-stakes litigation.”

∼risk management partner, AmLaw 200 firm

“When claims have threatened the reputation of our lawyers and, ultimately, our firm, we have entrusted Gunster’s Professional Liability Defense group to represent us. They have skillfully analyzed complex situations and vigorously defended our lawyers and our firm.”

∼general counsel, mid-Atlantic law firm

“For many years I have been privileged to work closely with the Gunster Liability Defense group, consult with them, and mediate cases in which they represented a party. They are talented, prepared, hardworking and always responsive. No lawyer or law firm could hope for better representation. Mr. Atkinson, who leads this group, is remarkably insightful.”

∼South Florida trial lawyer who represented law firms for 35+ years

“The professional Liability Defense group did such a great job setting up the substantive defenses to the claim that we insisted that Gunster remain involved as counsel when venue was transferred to another state where Gunster does not regularly practice. Few attorneys truly own the client’s problem the way David Atkinson and the assembled Gunster team do. David’s strategic thinking and initiative go well beyond the immediate issues so that we are always positioned well ahead of our opposition.”

∼trial lawyer with 25+ years of experience sued for malpractice

“I have had the opportunity, and good fortune, to work as co-counsel with David Atkinson and his team at Gunster on a significant and complex matter, comprised of a number of different lawsuits, brought by a multiple of parties in several different jurisdictions, and based upon complicated sets of facts and large volumes of documents and ESI. Much of the initial work was very time sensitive. Gunster provided the resources, at all levels, to capably staff, analyze and defend the claims and pending lawsuits in the necessary, yet much compressed, time. The strategies employed were well and thoughtfully conceived; the organization of the case was extraordinary and the written work product was outstanding. All of this has to date brought about very favorable results for our mutual client. And most important, it has been a pleasure to work with every one of them.”

∼co-counsel from the Northeast who has represented lawyers for 20 years

“I am a lawyer who specializes in the law of lawyering. Over the past several years I have had occasion to serve as a testifying or consulting expert for and against lawyers and law firms represented by the Gunster law firm’s Professional Liability Defense group. In each case I have found the lawyers of that group highly knowledgeable, insightful, thorough, and results-oriented, never losing sight of big-picture implications for their clients. They quickly identify and accurately evaluate the real issues in a case and develop effective and practical strategies for achieving a favorable outcome. They are at all times professional and are uniformly respected by the jurists before whom they appear.”

∼Florida attorney and legal ethics expert

“Mr. Atkinson represented me in a professional negligence action brought against me and multiple other defendants. Because of Mr. Atkinson’s reputation, knowledge and expertise in this field, he was able to convince plaintiff’s attorney to dismiss me from the action, as plaintiff’s attorney realized that he had a better chance of litigating the case against the other defendants if Mr. Atkinson were not involved. Mr. Atkinson’s professionalism and abilities are unmatched in this area of the law.”

∼Florida attorney sued for malpractice


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