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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 22, 2006

the Arkansas Bar irks me

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:16 pm

Later this evening, I will post on the topic of our implicit attitudes and

biases.  First, though, I want to mention one very explicit attitude/bias

that I have: I do not respect bar associations that put the interests of the

lawyers before those of clients (see bar & guild) — especially when lawyers

are merely being asked to give clients information that is important to their

selection of counsel. 




Today, my bad attitude goes out to the Arkansas Bar Association. Why?

Via Ben Cowgill, I learned that the Arkansas Bar’s House of

Delgates voted by a two-to-one margin to reject a proposed

rule requiring lawyers in active practice to certify whether

they carry professional liability insurance.  As Ben reported:

The proposal had been drafted by the Bar’s Profession-

alism Task Force and had received a strong endorsement

from the Bar’s Board of Governors. 


Arkansas is the first state that has rejected the concept

of mandatory reporting of professional liability insurance

since the ABA recommended a Model Court Rule on Insur-

ance Disclosure, in August of 2004.

The rejected rule is a weak form of disclosure — made to the Court

and not directly to clients.  Ben lists eleven states that now require

disclosure along with annual registration statements: AZ, DE, IL,

KS, MI, NE, NV, NM, NC, VA and WV.  There are also five states

requiring notification of clients: AK, NH, OH, PA and SD.  In addi-

tion, as Ben notes in his comprehensive review, “Oregon is still the

only state which requires all members of the Bar to maintain profes-

sional liability insurance.”  Find state-by-state details from the ABA

We’ve long supported mandatory disclosure to clients.  Click here for

the submission of the legal reform group HALT to the Georgia State

Bar (Nov. 4, 2004), explaining the benefits of mandatory disclosure

rules, and the need for notifying each client or potential client. HALT

gives one statistic that would surely surprise most members of the

public — and lawyers, too — the national average of lawyers who carry

professional liability insurance is 40%.  It is no surprise that disclosure

rules have motivated many formerly “naked” lawyers to purchase pro-

fessional liability insurance. 


p.s. Arkansas is among the 8 states that still impose a Gag Rule

on complainants in disciplinary matters.  Several state supreme

courts have recently declared such rules to be unconstitutional,

including the New Jersey Court last September.  



hidden in leaves
gazing at the camellia
croaking frog






hidden in shadows
a laughing mouse…
New Year’s inventory





midday’s mosquitoes
hidden behind
the Buddha of stone



Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue







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