Fraud by lawyers

Massachusetts followed similar actions by Connecticut and Rhode Island. Insurance carriers are now required to send a notice to consumers whenever $5,000 or more is sent to attorneys to settle clients’ claims. The objective is to prevent fraud by lawyers; some lawyers resolve clients’ claims without the consent of their clients or endorse/forge the settlement checks and deposit the funds into their own accounts.

The theory is that knowledge by clients will prevent fraud.  I’ve never known knowledge of such settlements preventing thievery.  But, then, I’ve also never known clients who walk away just because a lawyer has one sentence in a fee agreement that they have no malpractice insurance.

First, there is a very small percentage of "bad apples" in the legal profession. Second, remedies such as the "disclosure" requirement are band-aids on a scab. They are not truly remedial of the cause of the problems. While the rubric is "client protection," the real protection will come from better education of lawyers, including practice management education, providing affordable malpractice insurance, and then requiring every lawyer to have malpractice insurance — real insurance, not self-insurance!

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