Michigan task force recommends public disclosure of malpractice insurance coverage
A Michigan State Bar task force is recommending disclosure "to the public whether a Michigan lawyer in private practice carries malpractice insurance."
The State Bar of Michigan's 21st Century Task Force released a report containing recommendations to take challenges facing the legal profession because "the long term health of our profession is at stake."
One area of focus for the task force was a "dysfunctional legal marketplace" in which "even people who can afford legal services are often afraid of the cost and confused about whether they need legal help, what kind of legal help they might need, and how to find it," the task force reported. "We are falling further behind in our goal of access to justice for all."
Advocating for "transparent, accessible, and user friendly Internet access to reliable legal information that encourages confidence," the task force set forth a plan that would include disclosure of whether Michigan lawyers' malpractice insurance status, which is currently information gathered by the State Bar but not made accessible to the public.
Action on this proposal and others in the task force report require approval of the State Bar's Representative Assembly and possibly the Michigan Supreme Court.
Professionals in Michigan -- including doctors and lawyers -- are not required to carry malpractice insurance.
Individuals and businesses harmed by mistakes by lawyers and doctors in Michigan are often shocked to learn that the professionals they hired do not have insurance available to provide compensation for their errors.
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Tom Howlett, a Michigan attorney and partner at The Googasian Firm, writes this blog about the legal profession, lawyers in the news and developments in legal malpractice law.