When hiring an attorney, make sure that he is covered by malpractice insurance. It is your absolute right to ask your potential attorney about this issue. Admittedly, the lawyer may refuse to respond. If he does refuse, just don’t hire that attorney.
This is an important consumer protection issue. The Hawaii State legislature has attempted to pass a law requiring mandatory disclosure of malpractice coverage by attorneys. I have written to the Hawaii State Bar supporting this disclosure requirement. The Hawaii State Bar has consistently opposed this legislation. I am not exactly sure why. After all, I presume that all of the good lawyers in Hawaii carry malpractice insurance. Indeed, the Hawaii Bar Presidents usually are from very successful practices, so why are they preventing the public from knowing which lawyers do not care enough about their clients to have insurance coverage?
This is a simple consumer protection issue. It is illegal to drive a car without insurance presumably to ensure that the victims of car accidents are compensated. Shouldn’t we protect the consumers of legal services in the same way? If a lawyer makes a mistake that hurts his or her client, do we not want to make sure that the victim can be compensated?
So like so many other aspects of life in the Twenty First Century, since the government refuses to take action to protect you, you must protect yourself. Do not hire a lawyer unless he or she can confirm that they carry malpractice insurance.