David P. Atkins is a litigator who leads the firm's Professional Liability Section. He practices in the areas of professional liability, commercial litigation, appeals and administrative proceedings. Attorneys, law firms, CPAs, health care and other licensed professionals routinely seek David to represent them in malpractice, ethics and disciplinary (grievance) matters, licensing, court sanctions and disqualification proceedings. His extensive experience includes handling disputes among owners of professional service practices including physicians and attorneys. Firms and corporate legal departments regularly look to David for risk management consultations, in-house continuing legal education programs on legal ethics, as well as an expert witness on legal ethics, professional liability, and the "law of lawyering."
He has counseled law firms facing claims relating to breaches of their electronic banking data. In a matter that received national attention, David led the successful defense in the first reported disciplinary case in the country involving lawyers who signed up for online matching services with consumers looking for legal services. David has served as a court appointed mediator in civil cases as part of the Special Masters Dispute Resolution Program of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. He mediates disputes between co-owners of professional service practices as an alternative to litigation. He is a member and former director of the national Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) whose members include recognized leaders in the fields of attorney discipline and legal malpractice defense.
A sought after writer and speaker, David has written and spoken widely on attorney discipline, legal ethics and law office risk management. He co-authored "Client Consent to Future Conflicts" (Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct); "Litigation Funding: Ethical Considerations for the Plaintiff's Lawyer" (Connecticut Lawyer); “Attorney Advertising in Connecticut: Everything You Need to Know about the New Era of Oversight and Regulation,” (Connecticut Lawyer); “Conflict Waivers: When in Doubt, Spell It Out,” (Connecticut Lawyer); “Responding To a Disciplinary Complaint: The Do’s and Don’ts,” (Connecticut Law Tribune); "Advancing Client Costs: Pitfalls and Changes in Rule 1.8(e),” (Connecticut Law Tribune); and "The Unfinished Business Doctrine: Law Firm Dissolutions Bring Risks," (Connecticut Law Tribune). He authored “The Duty To Report Client Misconduct and The Client Veto,” (Connecticut Law Tribune); “Contacts With An Opposing Party’s Employees: When Is A Witness Off Limits?” (Connecticut Law Tribune); and "Law Firm Breakups and Lawyer Departures: The Ethical Do's and Don'ts," (Connecticut Lawyer).
Always willing to share his knowledge with others in the legal community, David is a regular speaker at programs sponsored by the Connecticut, Fairfield County, Greater Bridgeport, New Haven County and Danbury Bar Associations and the Connecticut and Westchester County - Southern Connecticut chapters of the American Corporate Counsel Association. He also has been an invited speaker on professional responsibility topics at the University of Connecticut School of Law; Yale Law School; and Quinnipiac University School of Law, and at the ABA's National Legal Malpractice Conference.
Connecticut Bar Association - Task Force on Grievance Procedures; Special Committee on In-House Counsel Certification
U.S. District Court Grievance Committee, District of Connecticut - special counsel
Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) - Board of Directors (2015-2019)
State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Committee on Uniformity of Court Procedures (2009)
Connecticut Against Gun Violence - vice president and director
Honors & Recognitions
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation, ethics and professional responsibility and legal malpractice law since 2007
Listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers to Businesses in the area of litigation: general commercial since 2016
Selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list since 2007 in the areas of business litigation and professional liability (defense)
Received the highest peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell (AV)
- Successfully defended law firms in jury trials on claims of professional negligence
- Represented professionals in partnership accounting and buyout disputes following a co-owner's departure from a practice or on the practice's dissolution
- Prosecuted and defended claims that employees engaged in theft of an employer's trade secrets
- Defended a Connecticut company accused by a customer of conspiring to fix prices
- Successfully defended a certified public accountant in a jury trial on a claim of breach of loyalty to a former client
- Defended licensed professionals, including physicians, psychologists and certified public accountants in claims of misconduct filed with state licensing tribunals
- Represented a national law firm in recovering a fee from a former client amounting to over $15 million
- Successfully defended lawyers against sanctions claims for alleged violations of court orders on safeguarding documents
News & Insights
- This article was originally published in the October 7, 2019 issue of the Connecticut Law Tribune, 10.14.2019
- Law Firm Risk Managers Alert: The Client Engagement Letter and the Dangers Of the “Accidental” Client07.09.2019
- ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct, 11.28.2018
A significant number of Connecticut attorneys, in law firms, corporate legal departments and insurance agencies, turn to our Professional Liability team for risk management advice to handle their important matters.
Bar and Court Admissions
- New York
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Tax Court
- Law clerk to Hon. Almeric L Christian, U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands, 1981 to 1983
Yale Law School, J.D., 1981
Columbia University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1978