A law firm may be vicariously liable for the torts committed by of counsel in several different ways. Where an of counsel is an employee of the law firm, and a tort is committed within the scope of the of counsel’s employment, a law firm could face liability under the theory of respondeat superior. Whether an of counsel is an employee or an independent contractor, a law firm may be liable for the torts of the of counsel, under principles of agency law, where the act was authorized by the law firm prior to its commission or ratified afterwards. In addition, a law firm can be held liable for malpractice for work performed by an of counsel under its supervision. For these reasons, a law firm employing an of counsel should notify its insurance carrier and add the of counsel attorney to the firm’s liability insurance.
For more information on contract lawyering, check out my book – A Lawyer’s Handbook on Contract Lawyering in Georgia.