Monday, 29 November 2021
The LMICK Minute - Issue #16
To Our Policyholders:
As we enter the season of reflection and gratitude, we want to say THANK YOU for choosing Lawyers Mutual of Kentucky. We are grateful for your continued loyalty and look forward to continuing to serve you in the new year. In this issue, we will introduce you to our newest staff members, discuss the latest developments in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), encourage you to comment on proposed changes to the Supreme Court Rules, and remind you take care of yourself this holiday season.
We also want to extend our gratitude to two former LMICK employees. Jillian Taylor served as LMICK’s CFO from September 4, 2019 to August 13, 2021, but accepted an opportunity with another company this fall. Connie Harper, a long-time employee, was often the first person to greet you when calling or visiting LMICK and is now enjoying retirement. We wish Ms. Harper and Ms. Taylor the best in their next chapters.
New Faces at LMICK
Robin Raypole, CPA - Vice President and CFO
Robin has spent the last 10 years providing audit and assurance expertise in the insurance industry. She also served as the interim Controller for a large health insurance company during its most recent merger. During her time with MCM CPAs & Advisors, LLP, she regularly assisted with firm initiatives focused on continuous improvement processes, recruitment/training/education of associates, and insurance industry niche growth opportunities.
Robin serves on the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Louisville Zoo Board. She is a 10-year Special Olympics of Kentucky Polar Bear Plunge participant, planning committee member, and co-captain of the reigning corporate fundraising champions Numb N Numb-er.
Courtney Risk, Esq. - Business Development Specialist
Courtney joins LMICK in a newly created role focused on formulating strong relationships with prospective and current policyholders. She will assist attorneys in the process of acquiring professional liability insurance as well as enhance LMICK’s risk management resources to the Kentucky Bar.
Courtney is an attorney with experience in litigation, both criminal and civil. She has also worked in the insurance industry, training attorneys and other officials in various legal issues. Courtney is looking forward to the opportunity to meet with members of the Bar and hear how LMICK can better support their work and practice. Feel free to contact her at any time.
New Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) rules effective November 30, 2021
As the country continues to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, it is important for attorneys handling FDCPA claims to be aware of recent developments in the rules and case law.
Two final rules impacting debt collection communications are now effective. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) previously proposed an extension to January of 2022, but public comment indicated stakeholders would be ready to comply with the November 30, 2021 date.
The first rule, finalized in October 2020, clarifies the Act’s prohibitions on harassment and abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices by debt collectors through telephone, email, texting, and other communications. The second rule, finalized in December 2020, clarifies the disclosures debt collectors must provide to consumers and prohibits debt collectors from suing or threatening to sue on time-barred debt. The CFPB has several resources addressing compliance on its website.
These changes come on the heels of recent cases addressing the required standing to bring a claim under the FDCPA. (See TransUnion v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190 (2021) and Ward v. National Patient Account Services Solutions, Inc., No. 20-5902, 2021 WL 3616067, — F.4th — (6th Cir. Aug. 16, 2021)). The cases, which analyzed FDCPA claims under the old rules, discuss what circumstances rise to the level of concrete harm necessary for one to have standing to bring a claim. Standing requires “more than a bare procedural violation of the FDCPA” and more than the risk of future harm. See Ward. Instead, “plaintiffs must demonstrate that the risk of future harm materialized or that the plaintiffs were independently harmed by their exposure to the risk itself.” Id. at *5 (internal citations omitted).
Failing to follow the correct, current procedures can open lawyers up to malpractice liability. Lawyers handling FDCPA claims can manage their risk by familiarizing themselves with the CFPB resources and reviewing recent case law in the applicable jurisdiction. We anticipate bringing you more detail on these FDCPA developments as the new rules and case law evolves. Stay tuned!
December 30, 2021 Deadline to Submit Written Comments to Proposed Amendments to the Kentucky Supreme Court Rules
- New SCR 3.130(5.8) proposes adoption of the ABA model rule for responsibilities regarding law-related services. Several other states have a “law-related services” rule based on the ABA Model Rule 5.7, as reflected in the ABA’s jurisdictional comparison.
The rule would apply to attorneys providing “services that might reasonably be performed in conjunction with and in substance are related to the provision of legal services, and that are not prohibited as unauthorized practice of law when provided by a nonlawyer.” The rule would expand the Rules of Professional Conduct to apply to attorneys serving in roles outside of traditional legal services. The rule’s proposed commentary indicates the intent is to prevent a client’s assumptions regarding an attorney’s duty when the attorney is acting in a role where no duty is owed.
- Amend SCR 3.130(8.4) to expand the definition of professional misconduct to include “engag(ing) in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” No defining language or commentary is included in the proposal.
- Amend SCR 3.130(1.1) to add commentary acknowledging that an attorney’s mental emotional, and physical well-being are critical to maintaining competence. The proposed amendment also clarifies that the comment is not intended to subject an attorney to discipline for showing signs of difficulty or seeking assistance to improve their wellness. The comment does, however, codify how important it is to maintain your mental, emotional, and physical well-being for the sake of yourselves, your practice, and your clients.
Taking Care of You
As the holiday season ramps up—and as the above proposed rule comment reminds us—we want to encourage you to pause and ensure that your own physical and mental needs are being met. Something as simple as being mindful of our breathing can significantly decrease the negative impact of stress on our body and allow us to better handle the holiday hustle and bustle. Navy SEALs use the box breathing method and in as little as five minutes you can face any adversary with composure–including the relative you were hoping to avoid at your holiday dinner. Follow us on social media where we provide mindfulness tips on Wednesdays and share with us what you do to stay well!
The Kentucky Bar Association Lawyers Advocating Wellness (LAW) group also has wonderful resources for incorporating wellness into this busy season. Check out their free CLE on managing holiday stress and additional resources!
The stress of life and the practice of law can become overwhelming at any time, and the holidays are no exception. The Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program is available for confidential assistance with suicide, substance use issues, and financial issues. You can reach KYLAP at (502) 226-9373 or through their website (www.kylap.org).
LMICK is proud to be a part of the KBA Mental Health Collaboration Group to support improved mental health in the profession. This group—along with the KBA, the LAW group, and KYLAP—presented “The ‘S’ Word”: Suicide Prevention for Lawyers. This one-hour free CLE is now available on-demand and trains participants to identify depression and suicide risk in colleagues and how to intervene effectively. The training aims to make conversations about suicide easier and focuses on the importance of peer-to-peer support within the profession. We encourage each of you to participate.
Thank you for a wonderful 2021 and we look forward to continuing to serve you in 2022! Best wishes for a great holiday