Copyright held by The John Cooke Fraud Report. Reprint rights are granted with attribution to The John Cooke Fraud Report with a link to this website.
By D. Michael Bush
So far, there have been no new bills introduced for the next session that involve insurance fraud in California.
In our last issue, we reported on the State Bar of California’s proposed new Rule 1311, “Regarding Employment of Disbarred, Suspended, or Inactive Lawyer.” The bill prohibits such a former attorney from rendering legal advice, negotiating with third parties and otherwise handling client funds. A person who employs such a former attorney would have to serve written notice upon the State Bar and upon each client on whose behalf the former attorney will work.
There were five public comments supporting the Rule and 19 in opposition. Those in support pointed out that the proposed Rule was long overdue and that it would give guidance to law firms who employ such individuals.
Those opposed, which included many bar associations, contended that the provisions of proposed Rule 1-311 were already covered by existing statutes and rules. It was suggested that if existing rules and regulations were not enforced, why should another rule be enacted? Some suggested that it is not fair to restrict a disbarred attorney from performing services that another person, such as a secretary or a paralegal could perform. Some argued that it would be too great a burden on lawyers to monitor the activities of those employed by them. Others felt that even disbarred attorneys should have the opportunity to be rehabilitated and this rule would make it virtually impossible for a disbarred attorney to find employment in a law office.
Although some would prefer a stronger rule that would more clearly delineate the line between disbarred attorneys and those who perform legal services, this is a good bill.
This bill has been referred to the Committee on Discipline and Client Assistance and the tentative hearing date is January 20, 1995.
The Committee is awaiting further information from the State Bar Chief Trial Counsel concerning other approaches and alternatives.
Although time for public comment has officially closed you may wish to make your comments known so that the State Bar will not retreat on this important rule. You may send comments to:
David Bell, Director
Professional Responsibility State Bar of California
100 Van Ness Ave., 28th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102-5238
If you would like to clip out this column and ;end it to Mr. Bell, please indicate which issues you support:
__________ I support proposed Rule 1-311.
___________ I feel attorneys have the duty to monitor activities of disbarred, suspended, resigned or involuntarily inactive lawyers.
___________ I believe that a list of those attorneys disbarred and disciplined within the last ten years should be made freely available to the public.
If you would like a copy of the bill, or have any other comments, my address is:
D. Michael Bush
Bush, Koppel & Schweizer
100 Oceangate, Suite 1000
Long Beach, CA 90802
© 1995 John Cooke Fraud Report