Solo and Small Firm

The Practitioner Winter 2019, Volume 25, Issue 1

Will California Have Mandatory Malpractice Insurance for Attorneys and What Will It Look Like?

By James I. Ham

James I. Ham is a solo practitioner from Glendale, CA who provides legal ethics and malpractice advice, and defends attorneys in State Bar discipline investigations and trial proceedings. He recently completed service as a Commissioner of the State Bar Commission on the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct. He can be reached at JHam@

The California State Bar Board of Trustees appointed a Malpractice Insurance Working Group to conduct a legislatively mandated review and study of malpractice insurance for licensed California attorneys. California Business & Professions Code section 6069.5 orders the State Bar to conduct the review. Findings must be reported to the supreme court and the Legislature by May 31, 2019.

The Legislature’s approach towards the issue can be determined from the language of the statute, which "[recognizes] the importance of protecting the public from attorney errors through errors and omissions insurance . . ." This language can arguably be read as suggesting that the legislature has already decided that the public needs protection through insurance.

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