law, Schmidt illustrates the impact of
uninsured malpractice. Attorneys put
to pay personally do not make detached
decisions. Insurers do not offer nothing
for 20 years when liability is clear or
require a client to execute against office
furniture to satisfy a judgment. Ms.
Schmidt may still have had to go to trial
but would not have had years of uncertainty as to whether, once she prevailed,
she would receive recompense. A more
likely outcome is that an insurer would
have made an offer to settle. But with
no insurance, the judicial system, the
public, and Ms. Schmidt endured the
burden of nearly 20 years of litigation.
In Washington a person needs a bond
to install a toilet. Attorneys entrusted
to handle life-altering events need no
insurance. Given the complexity of the
law even the most diligent attorney
may misstep. The WSBA Board of
Governors is considering formation of
a task force to explore possible models
for adoption of a mandatory malpractice insurance system for Washington
attorneys. Your input is needed. Please
provide it to the governor from your
1 or NWLawyer, or both. NWL
DAN BRIDGES was
elected to the WSBA
Board of Governors,
9, in September 2016.
Bridges is a partner with McGaughey
Bridges Dunlap, PLLC. He has tried
over 50 jury trials in state and U.S. district court and has argued more than
30 appeals in the Washington Supreme
Court, all three divisions of the Washington Court of Appeals, and the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
He also serves as a superior court
arbitrator in four Washington counties.
Bridges received his undergraduate
degree in political science from the
University of Washington and his law
degree, cum laude, from the University
of Puget Sound (now Seattle University
School of Law).
1. To find contact information for
the governor from your congressional
district, go to www.wsba.org/