Trying to learn whether a lawyer is a bad apple can be an exercise in futility. The ABA keeps a database of known ethics violators and makes the information available if you call 312-988-5321, but it relies on voluntary reports from state bar counsels. You could call the bar counsel in the appropriate state directly listed at www.nobc.org but that can also be a dead end unless the attorney has been suspended or disbarred. Many states just say he’s “in good standing” even if he has had lots of complaints or worse.
Here is an interesting fact, though it is to me not so obviously nefarious as the author would make it out to be:
Some 68 percent of malpractice claims from 1996 through 1999 closed without the client receiving payment from the lawyer’s insurance company, and only 6.7 percent netted more than $50,000, according to a 2001 ABA survey. Why is it so hard? For one thing, only an estimated 30 to 50 percent of lawyers even carry insurance, so collecting is a long shot.
Here is his final parting blow, judge it as you wish, noting that a lawyer may know many other lawyers:
Unlike doctors, lawyers in most states are allowed to have sex with clients. And many do. Nearly 20 percent of attorneys surveyed nationwide by the University of Memphis in 1993 admitted they or a lawyer they knew had had an affair with a client.