In the state of Georgia, lawyers are not required to carry insurance. As lawyers who represent victims of legal malpractice, The Linley Jones Firm, P.C. continues to fight for a rule that would require lawyers to carry insurance, that is, mandatory professional liability insurance. Our firm’s prospective clients are often shocked to learn that a lawyer who botches a case and damages a client may not even have insurance to cover the loss. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.
On Friday, July 23, the Professional Liability Insurance Committee of the State Bar of Georgia, with Linley Jones as a voting member, took a step in the right direction. The committee voted to recommend that Georgia require “mandatory disclosure” of insurance status to the State Bar. Then the State Bar will publish on its website’s lawyer directory whether a lawyer is insured, uninsured or exempt. Lawyers who are uninsured would be required to complete an online risk assessment. The hope is that this disclosure will lead to more lawyers obtaining insurance to protect their clients and themselves. It is now up to the State Bar’s Board of Governors to vote on the matter at its next meeting.
In the meantime, there remain many of us who will continue to fight for mandatory insurance. A license to practice law should not be a license to potentially harm legal consumers without recourse or compensation. If you have to carry insurance to drive a car, a lawyer should have to carry insurance to handle clients’ legal claims.