California residents who retain attorneys often do so – and reasonably enough, we think – with the assumption that their relied-upon legal counsel carries malpractice insurance.
It is clear what State Bar of California Executive Director Leah Wilson is primarily addressing in her reference to the “reform momentum” evident in recently passed legislation affecting state attorneys.
We note on our website (and, additionally, in many of our blog posts) that legal malpractice in California and elsewhere encompasses a broad realm of wrongdoing. Clients often have legitimate grievances against their retained legal counsel based on multiple grounds. Those encompass incompetent representation, ethics/morals violations, missed deadlines, communication failures and malfeasance concerning fees.
Active California legal practitioners might collectively be lamenting the recently imposed duty upon them to submit to fingerprinting by the end of next April. We noted in a recent Glickman & Glickman blog post that the new onus has resulted in the State Bar of California being “flooded with thousands of negative comments from lawyers.”
Minnesota is a “sister state,” notes a recent written decision of the California State Bar Court. What that means is that California legal authorities will pay close attention to select attorney discipline proceedings there, as well as in all other states, which are similarly characterized.
No California attorney can reasonably be expected to perform for a client at a super-human level. Like everybody else, lawyers – even good ones – occasionally make mistakes.
It is eminently reasonable for any lay person in California to justifiably rely upon the knowledge, competence and good-faith representation of a lawyer retained in a legal matter.
A recent media spotlight placed on California attorneys and the rules that govern their conduct pursuant to professional practice notes that it has been decades since the last full revision of the state’s ethics rules.
Anyone with even a casual interest in the State Bar of California knows that that the officials and legions of workers employed by that entity have no time to spare.
The debate over the prospective fingerprinting of all California attorneys by April 30 of next year is not over.