Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Complete Lawyer

Recently, my blog was chosen for inclusion in a blog directory run by The Complete Lawyer. The Complete Lawyer is an online magazine that is provided free of charge to members of many of the state bar associations. It focuses on legal professionalism and quality of life and career issues that face us as attorneys.

If you haven't yet had an opportunity to take a look at The Complete Lawyer, you should. You can access it at .


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Social Networking for Lawyers

Hot on the heels of MySpace and Facebook comes a new social networking site exclusively for lawyers. It's called LawLink and you can reach it at

The theory of these sites is simple, you create a page that lists information about you and your practice, then you invite colleagues to join. As people link to your page (and you link to theirs) your network builds. It's a way to communicate, build business, and learn from others.

Built into the system are messages (like e-mail) and forums (like group e-mail systems). This particular site, being new, is still being built so some features are not yet available. Still, it's worth checking out. You can take a look at my page and perhaps send me an invitation to yours to help our networks grow.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Medical Malpractice Legislation in Kentucky

Returning to the tort reform theme, yesterday's Lexington Herald Leader reported that Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has proposed a compromise bill that would attempt to make the insurers happy without imposing caps on medical malpractice awards in actual litigation. How does he propose to accomplish this? Well, it seems that Gov. Fletcher wants to eliminate frivolous cases by having a review board look at all medical malpractice claims and certify their merit before the case can be filed.

Who would sit on the review board? You guessed it - doctors. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.

Now, I have no problem with states that require an affidavit from a doctor certifying the merits of the case, so long as the plaintiff can choose the doctor. That approach seems reasonable. But, when you move to an "independent" board (likely one appointed by the governor), you open up the process to politics. Is a pro-insurance governor going to appoint people to the board who will take a dim view of any medical malpractice case? On the flip side, will a pro-consumer governor (if any actually exist) appoint board members who will certify everything? This is not a good approach.

The fact is, the rules in place in Kentucky (and most everywhere else) are already capable of achieving the stated goal of Governor Fletcher's plan - to eliminate the frivolous lawsuit. There are the provisions of Rule 11, plus the added pleading requirement that a plaintiff obtain a pre-filing certification that the case has merit.

No, I am afraid this is just another attempt to permit the insurance companies to achieve their goal of writing policies while eliminating the risk that they might have to pay out on claims.

On a related note - readers who have been around for a year or so will recall my interest in tort reform in Ohio. That was occasioned by the fact that I was involved in a pharmacy misfill case up there. That case is now over, but my interest in the Ohio attempt at tort reform (caps on punitive and non-economic damages) survives. I am awaiting a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court in the Arbino case. That case was argued in April, so one would think a decision would be forthcoming soon.