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Sooner or later, most prominent physicians reach the point in their careers where they are asked to become officers of a professional society. Most accept.
The honor and the responsibility that accompany such a position, however, can sometimes carry with them legal liability. Professional societies have become the targets of numerous types of lawsuits, and the lawsuits often name the societies' officers and directors as defendants. Six rules may help newly elected officers and directors avoid such liability.
First, check out the association's insurance. It should cover most of the association's regular activities. Many associations find it difficult to obtain insurance that will cover antitrust liability. Make sure, though, that at least the legal costs of defending an antitrust action are covered. Check to be sure the insurance covers officers and directors. If you are going to become the association's treasurer, consider whether the staff should be covered by a
A Legal Checklist for Becoming an Officer of an Association. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(8):915. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860320025012
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