Patricia McHugh Lambert, an attorney at Pessin Katz Law P.A., wrote an e-book in three days while holed up in Ohio during Hurricane Sandy.
Two weeks later, “Waltzing with Chimeras: The Uneasy Dance between Insureds, the Insurers and Assigned Defense Counsel” was published and available for download on the Internet.
The 14-page e-book is about the different roles clients, lawyers and insurance companies play during litigation.
“When you have litigation in an insurance investigation, there is this uneasy dance between the insurance and the insured and assigned defense counsel,” Lambert said.
Lambert, who has been at PK Law in Towson for 16 years, compared the situation to a Chimera, a mythological creature that has a lion’s head, goat’s body and serpent’s tail.
“If I’m dancing with such a beast, it would be really awkward,” Lambert said. “To me, this is a good reference of how the situation works. It’s not one animal. They could be fighting each other unless they say, ‘Let’s get together, work it out and dance together.’”
The ancient theme continues throughout the book, and Lambert writes about how the dance can go wrong. Many times, she said, the players don’t understand their roles and the insured are confused about what is covered in their policy and what they should share with their insurer.
“I want people to be able to talk to an attorney so they can make demands on them,” Lambert said. “I want you to discuss certain issues with me, and I think it makes attorneys better.”
Lambert, who has been practicing insurance law and handling complex commercial litigation for more than 25 years, said she once had a client who owned a jewelry store that was robbed, only to find out the client’s insurance policy did not cover jewelry theft.
“I think a lot of people don’t understand their insurance policies and how they work,” Lambert said.
In her book, she emphasizes that everyone should have his or her insurance policies reviewed by an attorney. The goal of the book is to help businesses protect their hard work, she said.
“If they take some time to think about this, they can save some time in the future,” Lambert said.
Lambert said she has been in almost every role of the situations she describes in the book. She has served on the boards of insurance companies in addition to her insurance practice. She has represented insurers, policyholders and insurance producers.
“Each hat you wear is a little bit different,” Lambert said.
The e-book is part of a larger collection of e-books about business litigation by ExecSense Inc., which publishes webinars, e-books and podcasts geared toward executives. Other topics in the series include pre-litigation investigation strategy and minority shareholder oppression.
“I think mine is the only one that has mythical creatures in it,” Lambert said.
ExecSense approached Lambert in October about writing the book. They found her just by searching the Internet for insurance law attorneys, Lambert said.
She calls herself a frustrated writer always looking for opportunities to publish. She writes a bi-monthly column for Insurance and Financial Advisor, which reports insurance industry news. Lambert also writes for an agents’ association publication in which she responds to questions about insurance law.
“You take opportunities as they come,” Lambert said. “And being that frustrated writer, I said yes.”
Lambert had a law clerk pull together information on the topic, and when she got stuck in Ohio after a client meeting during Hurricane Sandy at the end of October, she decided to write it all at once.
“I said, ‘I’m just going to sit here and take all the materials I have and write it,’” Lambert said.
ExecSense put the e-book on Amazon.com Nov. 8. It sells for $9.99. Lambert will receive a cut of the sales in a check from ExecSense at the end of the year, money she said she plans to donate to charity.
“I was surprised how quickly it goes from writing to publishing to purchasing,” Lambert said.