For over forty years, the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund (PLF) has provided malpractice coverage to lawyers in private practice in the state of Oregon. The PLF is a unique organization within the United States. The Oregon State Bar Board of Governors created the PLF in 1977 pursuant to state statute (ORS 9.080) and with approval of the OSB membership. The PLF began operation on July 1, 1978, and has been the mandatory provider of primary malpractice coverage for Oregon lawyers since that date. 

While other states have bar-related insurance companies who provide coverage for lawyers, that coverage is not mandatory. Idaho is the only other U.S. state to require legal malpractice coverage, relying on attorneys to obtain that through commercial carriers. Oregon is the only state that requires coverage and provides that coverage through a mandatory bar-related program. The mission and purpose of the PLF is to serve the lawyers of Oregon. The existence of the PLF also provides a benefit to the public because lawyers have malpractice coverage.


Of the roughly 14,000 active members of the Oregon State Bar who live in Oregon, approximately half are in private practice and purchase PLF coverage. The remaining Bar members claim exemption from coverage as corporate counsel, government lawyers, law professors, and other exempt categories.  

The PLF primary coverage limits are $300,000 per claim/$300,000 aggregate for every attorney engaged in the private practice of law in Oregon. This coverage includes defense and indemnity costs, and an additional $75,000 claims expense allowance is available for defense costs. In 2022, the basic assessment for this coverage is $3,300 for each attorney. 


The PLF Claims Department investigates, evaluates, and administers claims involving lawyers engaged in the private practice of law in Oregon (our covered parties). PLF claims attorneys are available to help lawyers deal with malpractice claims and potential claims. Every day, claims attorneys answer calls from attorneys across the state in all practice areas to help address and avoid claims. 

To reduce the cost and frequency of malpractice claims, the PLF offers an extensive array of programs and services to educate and serve Oregon lawyers:
  • Legal education seminars, publications, and practice aids that alert lawyers to malpractice traps,
  • A practice management assistance program that helps lawyers improve office systems and procedures, and
  • A personal assistance program that helps lawyers practice more effectively through a focus on well-being (Oregon Attorney Assistance Program).   

In 1991, the PLF began offering optional additional malpractice coverage limits (excess coverage) on an underwritten basis to Oregon law firms. Additional coverage is available up to aggregate limits of $10 million. Approximately 700 firms and 2,000 lawyers currently have PLF Excess Coverage. Additional coverage limits are also available to Oregon law firms from commercial insurers on the open market.