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Lawyers will be surveyed on malpractice insurance

In an effort to determine how to make professional liability insurance more affordable and available, the State Bar will conduct an online survey of its members this month.

Participants will be randomly selected from among active lawyers and will be contacted by e-mail. Interested lawyers will be asked to take the survey at a customized Web site created by Infosurv, a firm retained by the bar to administer the survey.

Last year, the board of governors recommended, and sent to the Supreme Court for approval, an insurance disclosure rule that requires lawyers to tell their clients, in most circumstances, if they do not carry malpractice insurance. The board also asked the bar to study ways to make professional liability insurance more affordable and available and to find additional ways to compensate clients harmed by uninsured lawyers.

The survey will try to determine the current percentage of uninsured lawyers, the extent to which malpractice insurance is unavailable and why, and information to help evaluate the issue of affordability.

The board recommended the rule after three years of study and public comment. Supporters of a disclosure requirement believe it enhances public protection while opponents felt such a rule disproportionately affects solo practitioners and stigmatizes those who do not carry insurance.

The rule is under consideration by the Supreme Court.

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