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

June 8, 2003

The Lawyer Disciplinary System

Filed under: — David Giacalone @ 9:39 am

Below are ethicalEsq-f/k/a postings and annotated web resources on this topic. Find our full list of annotated ethics links by clicking the Client Rights & Legal Ethics link on the Navigation Bar

  • foxes guarding the golden eggs [ALF #2]” (February 24, 2009)
  • lawyer ads: the tension between ethics and self-interest March 27, 2006
  • Supreme Court rejects PIT-BULL appeal March 27, 2006
  • heavy breathing over “heavy hitting” lawyers March 3, 2006
  • Missouri newsflash: legal consumers are really stupid (Sept. 26, 2005)
  • New Lawyer Discipline Report Cards from HALT March 8, 2006
  • blame bar counsel for the Capoccia Scandal March 8, 2005
  • Posting 04/21/04 Special Rules for Solos?
  • Posting 04/14/04 Carolyn Won’t Like This (stealing; solos)
  • Posting 03/06/04 Deceptive Billing Brings Disbarment
  • Sanction This (Firm)! [for excessive hourly billing quotas] (March 1, 2004)
  • Posting 02/29/04 Mitigate This? [disability, pressure and discipline]
  • Posting 02/23/04 Tennessee Loosens Discipline Gag Rule
  • Posting 01/02/04 That’s Just Southern Chutzpahtality, Honey
  • Posting 09/30/03 UK Gets Improved Lawyer Discipline System
  • Posting 09/07/03 Can Cyber-Shame Tame Frivolous Lawsuits?
  • Posting 09/09/03 They’re Indisposed to Disclose Lawyer Discipline
  • Posting 08/29/03 Australian Message on Improving Attorney Disicipline
  • Posting 7/11/03 Self-Regulating Softies in San Antonio
  • Posting 6/30/03 Law School Substance Abuse Still High
  • Posting 6/28/03 Lawyer Discipline: Maybe They Do Mean What They Say
  • Posting 6/27/03 Objecting to “Serial Objectors”
  • HALT Suggests a “Better Way to Discipline Lawyers” (June 25, 2003)
  • Should Lawyers Control Lawyer Discipline? (June 22, 2003)
  • Posting 6/20/03 Amen to WashPost Editorial on Guardians
  • Posting 6/19/03 Tighter D.C. Rules on Guardians
  • Posting 06/16/03 Sorry, It’s Not Just a Few Bad Apples [diligence needed]
  • Posting 6/14/03 Wash. Post Finds Shameful Neglect by Attorneys/Court of Probate Wards
  • HALT’s Lawyer Accountability Project is a major reform effort to strengthen consumer protections that apply to lawyers and the attorney discipline system. Click here for materials on the Lawyer Discipline System. The Lawyer Discipline ReportCard issued in October, 2002, was a major study conducted under this project. Report cards were given for each State. The results are not pretty.

    ABA Survey on Lawyer Discipline Systems The ABA Survey on Lawyer Discipline Systems consists of eight charts arranged alphabetically by jurisdiction, with footnotes if clarification of data is necessary. SOLD Survey Results: 2000: Seven Charts: (1) Lawyer Population and Agency Caseload Volume; (2) Sanctions Imposed; (3) Reinstatement and Readmission Statistics; (4) Disciplinary Agency Caseload Statistics; (5) Case Processing Time Guidelines; (6) Budget Information and Sources of Funding; (7) Allocation of Dues and Fees in State Disciplinary Systems; (8) Staffing of Disciplinary Agencies.
    Lawyer Regulation for A New Century Report of the ABA Commission on Evaluation of Disciplinary Enforcement (February 1992) This American Bar Association study and report, called The McKay Report, found a continued crisis in lawyer discipline and called for many reforms.

    FAQs from NOBC The National Association of Bar Counsel has put together brief answers to frequently asked questions from the public about Legal Ethics and the Attorney Discipline System. The questions addressed are: What are “Legal Ethics? What conduct is covered? What conduct is not covered? Who makes the rules? Who determines if the rules have been broken? How do I file a charge of unethical conduct against a lawyer? Will the Disciplinary Agency reimburse money that a dishonest attorney stole from me? What is Fee Arbitration?

    The Sham of Client Compensation Funds By HALT Staffer, Steven Serdikoff, this article summarizes a HALT of client compensation funds. The Report concluded: “Created by states to reimburse people cheated by their lawyers, the sad truth is that most so-called ‘client compensation’ funds are a sham. These funds pay almost nothing to victimized clients, regardless of whether the fund is in a state with over 40,000 lawyers or a state with fewer than 2,000.”
    Sustained Objection: Lawyer-Disciplinary System Still Woefully Inadequate This op/ed piece by ethicalEsq‘s Editor focuses on New York State, but raises problems existing across the country. It was published in the Sunday Gazette (NY Capital Region), on June 22, 2003. It calls for several reforms of America’s “scandalous” system of lawyer self-regulation.

    Regulation of the Legal Profession Written by Frank H. Stevens and James H. Love (1999, 31 pp., pdf), this monograph from the Encyclopedia of Law and Economics reviews the economic literature, focusing primarly on self-regulation by the legal profession, and includes a full bibliography. Summing up: The justification for self-regulation seems to be reducing the costs of government regulation. However, much of the literature on self-regulation concludes that it operates in favor of the profession over the interests of the client — limiting competition and raising fees and professional income.
    The Objective of Professional Licensing In “What is the Objective of Professional Licensing? Evidence from the US Market for Lawyers” (Nov 2004), Turin Univ. Profesoor Mario Pagliero finds that the objective of such regulation in the USA is explained by capture theory, rather than public interest theory, and that “licensing increases annual entry salaries by more than $20,000, ” with a total welfare loss of over $6 billion. This link accesses an abstract, but the entire study is available with a free registration.

    Economic Impact of Regulating Professions (scroll down to the Other Documents and Studies Section of the page) Entitled “Economic impact of regulation in the field of liberal professions in different Member States,” this EU report (2003) was produced by the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, for the Competition Directorate-General of the European Commission. It is a comprehensive comparison of the various levels of regulation and their effects in the highly diverse European nations, covering lawyers, accountants, architects/engineers, and pharmacists. An Executive Summary of the lengthy report is available. The related Monti Speech, Competition in Professional Services: New Light and New Challenges, by Mario Monti, Commissioner for Competition, European Community, was delivered on the day the Report was issued (March 21, 2003). Com’r Monti discusses the issues raised in the Report, and summarizes the results, while explaining that the EU is attempting to level the competition playing field among professions in its member states, and must deal with the diverse levels of regulation. The study appears to show that lower levels of regulation result in increased competition and wealth creation (e.g., lower income per professional, more competitors in the marketplace, and more efficient units).

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