Oh. My. God.
Please join me in the great handwringing crisis currently gripping the state of California. To be more specific, the crisis gripping the lawyers of California. More specifically still, California lawyers and legal malpractice insurance.
There is a legal malpractice crisis in California. Jury awards are skyrocketing, and and lawyers' rates for malpractice insurance (which they are required to carry) are doubling and tripling almost annually.
The above paragraph is complete bullshit. The only way it comes close to the truth is if you replace the word "legal" with "medical" and "lawyers" with "doctors."
- Lawyers in California are not required to carry malpractice insurance. (Lawyers in only one state are: Oregon.)
- Legal malpractice premiums are around $4,000 - $7,000 annually. (That's about what I pay quarterly.)
- Legal malpractice, especially in the areas of consumer law, personal injuries, immigration, bankruptcy and family law, can cause real harm to clients.
The State Bar is proposing a rule that would require lawyers to disclose their lack of legal malpractice insurance to their clients.
Oh, the horror!
Here's what the rule's critics are saying:
- ...the proposal would unfairly brand uninsured lawyers with a "scarlet letter."
- "It sets up a two-tiered bar, those with insurance and those without."
- "Prospective clients who learn that a lawyer is uninsured will probably be misled into thinking the lawyer is incompetent and go elsewhere."
From the article:
Malpractice insurance protects clients who lose money because of a lawyer's negligence -- missing a filing deadline, for example, or providing incompetent representation that affects the outcome of a case.
A lawyer's insurance status is "a highly relevant piece of information that a new client deserves to know," said San Jose attorney James Towery, a former State Bar president and head of a task force that drafted the proposal.
The ultimate irony, of course, is their corresponding stand on medical malpractice insurance. Even as they go merrily picking our pockets with mandated levels of coverage, they bitch and moan about merely disclosing that they themselves can't be bothered to protect their own clients. Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if doctors not only chose to go bare (if they had the option) but then refused to tell their patients? How dare they! How irresponsible!
I would call these people hypocritical, but that would be offensive to everyday hypocrites. This takes hypocrisy to a whole new level, and mixes in a healthy dollop of chutzpah. I suppose it really is impossible to overestimate the depths to which lawyers will stoop.