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Legal Malpractice Insurance: Should it be Mandatory?

By law, a truck driver has to carry one million dollars of liability insurance. If a tractor-trailer is driven irresponsibly, it can cause massive amounts of property damage, and physical harm or even death to any people involved. Being insured for damage they may cause is a responsibility that we legally require and ethically expect from any man or woman who chooses to drive a truck.

Astonishingly, The Florida Bar does not require an attorney to carry any malpractice insurance whatsoever, and this is something that must change. While meaning no disrespect to truck drivers, attorneys are responsible for helping clients through some of the most difficult times of their lives, and a negligent lawyer is no less of a threat to public safety than a negligent truck driver.

As a society, are we really that much more interested in protecting the public from the harm that truck drivers can do to the public than from the harm that lawyers can do to their clients, and to the image of lawyers in general? The Florida Bar has a Clients’ Security Fund which, in some instances, will provide compensation to claimants for the misdeeds of lawyers, but this is simply not enough.

Both jobs, performed negligently, have the capacity to cause enormous harm, but the perception is that lawyers make the rules, and the rules are not evenhanded. This lack of accountability is a huge injustice to the public. Holding attorneys to a lower standard than truck drivers is a mistake, and a change must be made for the sake of the public and the reputation of lawyers.

To me, the more we as lawyers hold ourselves to a higher standard, not a lower standard, the more we will protect the public and the profession as a whole. If you agree, please like our Facebook page, and please visit www.FloridaBar.org and let the Florida Bar Board of Governors know how you feel.