Solos Should Not Be Mandated to Have Malpractice Insurance..nor Disclose They Don't
Ed Poll of LawBizManagement and I share concerns about mandatory malpractice insurance as well as mandatory disclosure if you do not have malpractice insurance as it will disproportionately hurt the solo practitioner as well as the public the mandate purports to protect. You can read his passionate post here as it relates to the ongoing debate in California.
Lawyers will be hurt; that is, those estimated 30,000 lawyers (without reference to those in professional corporations) who currently do not have malpractice insurance will be hurt. And if they are hurt, their clients, typically the people who cannot afford the large law firms, will be hurt. Here’s the rub: How does this provide greater access to the legal help the public needs?
In addition, Ed takes on the assertions made by the head of the California Bar Association, Bleich, that their mission is solely to address the needs of the public. When Bleich says,
“The work of the State Bar ultimately is to protect the public and to ensure that the people of California have access to the legal help they need. Although the bar (sic) provides benefits and other services to lawyers, it does this not as an end in itself, but instead to help lawyers better serve the public ...”
It appears quite clear from his comments that he believes the Bar has only one goal, to serve the public. What happened to the Board’s pronouncements two years ago when then President Jim Heiting said the Bar has two, co-equal goals, one to protect the public and the other to protect its members, lawyers, who need help in many different areas in order to be more effective and efficient in delivering legal services to the public? Has this been reversed? Seems to be ... especially if we believe that helping lawyers is only a means to an end, not a co-equal end!
This is a raging debate and may be rearing its ugly head in your state. Pay attention.
You can read my take on mandatory malpractice insurance here.