70 Tul. L. Rev. 2583 (1995-1996)
Legal Malpractice: Reforming Lawyer and Law Professors; Ramos, Manuel R.

handle is hein.journals/tulr70 and id is 2619 raw text is: Legal Malpractice: Reforming Lawyers and
Law Professors
Manuel R. Ramos*
Each year legal malpractice costs insurers nationwide more than $4 billion-more than
medical malpractice, almost as much as what plaintiffs collect annually after exorbitant jury
awards, and many times more than the annual amount of rarely collected jury punitive damage
awards. However, while medical malpractice, punitive damages, and jury awards continue to
grab the headlines, not even lawyers and law professors acknowledge the legal malpractice
epidemic. The silence on legal malpractice is deafening. Professor Ramos, who has handled
over 900 legal malpractice cases, calls for the elimination of the states' traditional but anemic
disciplinary enforcement of vague ethical rules in favor of a more effective form of lawyer
self-regulation: legal malpractice litigation. Professor Ramos touts Oregon's responsible,
efficient and economical Professional Liability Fund (PLF), the nation's only mandatory legal
malpractice insurance program, and Tulane Law School's teaching of legal malpractice as
models and important first steps that lawyers and law professors should embrace. In the
meantime, uninsured and underinsured lawyers, which estimates place at anywhere between
30% and 60%, depending on the state, and the continuing rise in both the frequency and
severity of legal malpractice, will inevitably serve as viable vehicles and catalysts for consumer
groups and legislators who seek to fundamentally reform both the legal profession and legal
education.
I.    INTRODUCTION: WHAT LEGAL MALPRACTICE? ...................... 2584
II. ScRAP THE DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENf MODEL:
TREAT LAWYERING LIKE ANY OTHE              BUSINESS ..................... 2591
IEI. LEGAL MALPRACTICE IS THE MOST EFFEcTIvE FORM OF
LAWYER REGULATION ............................................................... 2600
IV.   MANDATE LEGAL MALPRACICE INSURANCE .......................... 2609
V. LEGAL MALPRACTICE AND CHANGING LEGAL EDUCATION .... 2617
VI. CONCLUSION: MAKE LEGAL MALPRACTICE PART OF OUR
VOCABULARY ............................................................................ 2623
APPENDIX A: SELECTED ExCERmrS FROM THE ABA MCKAY
REPORT (1992) ON THE STATUS OF THE NATION'S LAWYER
DISCIPLINARY SYSTEM        ............................................................. 2625
*     Associate Professor, Tulane University Law School. B.A. magna cum laude
1974, Yale University; J.D. 1978, University of Virginia. A former partner with Lewis,
D'Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard, one of California's largest law firms, and co-founder of its
San Diego office, Professor Ramos has handled over 900 legal malpractice cases for over 20
insurers.
2583

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