What is a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)?
States generally do not allow a typical limited liability company (LLC) to be formed for businesses that require a professional license to operate, such as lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, accountants, and chiropractors. Instead, these businesses that provided these professional services are permitted to form a professional limited liability company (“PLLC”), which is very similar to an LLC and affords the same limited liability and other benefits of an LLC.
How is a PLLC formed?
Most of the steps and formalities to form a PLLC are generally the same as those for forming an LLC.
The following are important additional requirements for forming a PLLC:
1. Depending on the profession, the state licensing board for your profession must approve your articles of organization or similar organizational document or a certificate of good standing must be obtained from the applicable licensing authority and submitted with the PLLC’s articles of organization / formation.
In New York many occupations are subject to Title VIII of the Education Law, which is regulated by the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions. This organization may provide a certificate of authorization to those who qualify and seek to form a professional entity. Similarly, attorneys who seek to form a professional entity will need a certificate of good standing from their governing bar association.
2. A licensed professional must be the organizer and sign the appropriate organizational documents. The state may have additional restrictions about who can operate certain professional businesses. For example, state laws and bar associations have rules about who can operate a law firm.
Does a PLLC protect me from malpractice claims and liability?
No, a PLLC will not protect its members from claims of professional malpractice. For this reason, member of PLLCs are strongly advised to obtain appropriate malpractice insurance coverage.