neys do not have insurance. There are
valid business reasons for not having
insurance. These reasons should have
been considered but were overlooked
in the one-size-fits-all ONE-SIDED
SOLUTION represented by mandatory malpractice insurance. 1
TWO-SIDED SOLUTION IS
THE REASONABLE ANSWER
The TWO-SIDED SOLUTION takes
a wider, more flexible position. First,
it adequately protects clients so they
can choose for themselves whether
to hire an uninsured attorney or not.
Second, it adequately protects attor-
neys so they can choose for them-
selves whether to purchase insurance
It embodies true “free market”
choice by ( 1) eliminating clients as
victims while at the same time ( 2)
preserving the right of attorneys to
decide what their cost of doing business will be.
• Those clients of private practice
attorneys with insurance are al-
ready adequately protected. This
would be the majority of clients.
• The clients of private practice
attorneys without insurance
would be adequately protected by
full disclosure of the attorney's
uninsured status, which should
include notice in those attorneys’
contracts for legal services. This
would be a minority of clients.
• The insurance market would
continue in the normal course because there would be no “captive”
audience to possibly drive up the
cost of insurance from among an
unknown number of carriers.
• Informed clients would be able
to choose for themselves whether
they wanted to hire an insured or
• It accommodates the valid busi-
ness reasons why 15 percent of ac-
tive attorneys in private practice
choose not to buy insurance.
• It is moral/ethical because when
the client chooses an uninsured
attorney, he does it of his own
volition. (He might have his own
reasons for doing so.)
• It is moral/ethical because it does
not force uninsured active private
practice attorneys into inactive
status, taking away their right to
practice law (which most likely
will be considered a taking when
the least restrictive means of protecting the public is not adopted).
The Washington State Bar Association, operating under the delegated
authority of the Washington Supreme
Court, must accomplish its work using
the “least restrictive means.” The
TWO-SIDED SOLUTION is the least
restrictive means to adequately protect both clients and attorneys.
INEZ PETERSEN worked
at Boeing for 30 years
as a certified computer
retiring in 1997. After a
decade of retirement,
she decided to become an attorney, attending Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Fl. She began her solo practice in
2013, which is predominantly pro bono.
She has carried malpractice insurance
from day one. She can be reached at
425-255-5543 if you have questions
about the two-sided solution or want
copies of her correspondence with the
Board of Governors or the Mandatory
Malpractice Insurance Task Force.
1. The Nevada Supreme Court on Oct 11, 2018,
denied that state bar's petition to make
malpractice insurance mandatory. See
caseView.do?csIID=46470 (especially the
comments). See also https://lawmrh.word-press.com/tag/nevada-supreme-court/.
Send your comments about the two-level
solution—or anything else about mandatory
The WSBA Service Center
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.