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.
Like practitioners in all other occupations, lawyers are imperfect beings. They sometimes make mistakes or act in otherwise negligent or bad-faith ways that harm their clients. It is comforting to know that insurance coverage exists to protect against such a contingency.
And yet that requisite protection does not always exist. Indeed, we note on our website at the established pro-victims’ legal malpractice law firm of Glickman & Glickman in Los Angeles the estimate that only about 60% of all U.S. attorneys carry malpractice insurance.
In fact, it is not even required that they do so in California, with current law holding that such coverage is voluntary. A recent State Bar of California notification stresses that it is only incumbent upon lawyers to disclose a lack of insurance in matters where their representation will run at least four hours.
The bar is duly concerned about that, as evidenced by its recent reaching out to the public for comment on various options under consideration that could materially adjust existing law. The state’s governing legal body is under a legal mandate to study malpractice coverage and offer up some possibilities that could promote positive change.
One recommendation is to require disclosure of non-coverage in every instance, that is, to every client seeking representation, regardless of the scope or time limitations relevant to advocacy. Another suggestion – which we reasonably view will command broad acceptance – urges mandated coverage for every attorney in the state as a licensing prerequisite.
California clients absolutely need to be safeguarded against lawyerly incompetence and/or wanton bad faith. Questions or concerns regarding this important legal subject matter can be directed to a proven legal malpractice attorney.