News and Noteworthy
New and Noteworthy
SRZ Panelists Educate on Managing Engineering Risk
On November 10, 2004, SRZ conducted a risk management seminar for the Structural Engineers Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of structural engineering. SRZ colleagues knowledgeable in diverse areas of law relevant to engineers and architects, composed the panel. Entitled Engineering through the Legal Issues, the seminar offered continuing education credits to engineers, who, in Illinois, must earn 30 credits every three years to retain their state licenses.
SRZ distributed to each participant a document panelists had written specifically for this event and began the seminar with a discussion entitled Understanding Business and Insurance When Developing Your Risk Management Strategy. One of the accompanying seminar papers, Professional Liability and Alternative Forms of Business Organization, detailed the liability engineers can confront and discussed alternative forms of business organization engineering firms should consider as part of any risk management strategy. Also during that session, SRZ helped translate arcane law into meaningful discourse, a discussion more fully explained in the paper Risk Management and Insurance Coverage: What Does the Policy Say?
Among the panelists was Charles Cole, a dynamic speaker who presented The Standard of Care and Ethical Responsibility, a timely dialogue in this era of corporate misconduct. It opened my eyes, said one participant. The empirical case studies were directly relevant to engineers and architects. Charles, who won 40 of the 47 cases he has tried before a jury, drew on his history of success in professional liability defense to provide seminar participants with cautionary insight.
Gerald Rohrer, drawing on his experience as a member of SRZ's Professional Liability Litigation team, entitled his lecture and paper So You Want the Claim to Disappear: The Right Indemnification Provisions and Clear Intention Regarding Beneficial Rights Can Limit Your Liability Exposure.
Gerald's ensuing discussion with colleague Brendan McMahon illuminated the risks inherent in construction and what contractual steps industry professionals can take to manage and defend said risks. One audience member commented afterwards that by explaining provisions about indemnification and clauses specifying intentions toward third-party beneficiaries, Gerald and Brendan provided solid advice on risk management. Citing relevant law, Gerald's paper also offered a wealth of information to help protect construction professionals from potential exposure on a variety of fronts and should serve as an indispensable reference.
Michael T. Roche presented Staying Secure in a Competitive Environment, an informative discussion about copyright law, trade secret defense, unfair competition and the importance and impact of non-compete agreements. In Covenants Not to Compete, Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition and Copyright, which he cowrote with a colleague, Michael provided participants with an invaluable reference tool itemizing various types of non-compete agreements, discussing the enforceability and enforcement of post-employment restrictive covenants and addressing why both employers and employees should consult attorneys regarding such matters. In the copyright section of his paper, he explained how architects and designers can legally protect their works, discussing the Copyright Act of 1976 and its impact on engineering.
Every single topic was of interest, a participant commented afterwards, and the written materials also impressed me.
SRZ welcomes inquiries from other industries seeking to organize continuing education seminars. For further information, contact Bernard Castro at bcastro@SRCattorneys.com.