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VSB Council rejects malpractice proposal

The Virginia State Bar Council resoundingly rejected today a proposal for mandatory legal malpractice insurance by a 60-11 vote.

Almost 92 percent of 17,393 state lawyers who represent clients drawn from the public already have such insurance, and only one lawyer without insurance reported this year that he had an unsatisfied malpractice judgment against him.

As a result, many attorneys saw the proposal as a cure for a non-existing problem, as R. Paul Childress Jr., the chairman of the VSB’s Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice put it in listing the pros and cons of the proposal.

Only council member and former VSB President Joseph A. Condo spoke in favor of the proposal. “It not only protect the public, it protects the lawyer, too,” Condo said. “I think it’s a huge mistake to vote this down. I think it’s going to give us a huge black eye with the public.”

In another major policy change, the council voted unanimously to create an online directory of state attorneys that will include every lawyer who does not opt out of the list. Lawyers now must notify the VSB that they want to be included in its online directory directory, and fewer than 4,000 have done so.

Alan Cooper

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