Sunday, October 19, 2008

Does The Bar Pick On Solo Practitioners?

This question has been pending for years. It's also a discussion not limited to Florida.

My opinion, state Bar associations do discipline solo practitioners more than big firm lawyers, and for good reason.

About a year ago Mike McKee over at the Cal Law Blog addressed this issue.

He mentions several reasons, but two that I believe are at the cornerstone:

"Solos and small-firm attorneys make up 70 percent or more of all lawyers in America and, therefore, by sheer numbers alone rack up more discipline cases."

"They also tend to represent unsophisticated clients who don’t understand the legal system and file more complaints."

Here's the deal, big firm clients tend to be....big firms, corporations, highly sophisticated people who use lawyers as a matter of course and have no use for the Bar discipline process. They'll sue if the lawyer's mistake is significant, not look for a discipline case that will not bring with it a monetary judgment.

Solo practitioners mostly represent small business people or individuals who have mroe direct contact with a particular lawyer and are more sensitive about fees and communication. Big firm clients know their lawyer as the name of the firm, not the name of the lawyer.

Additionally, solo practitioners tend to be less organized and subject to missing filing deadlines and court appearances, and many times take on too much work to concentrate on the client's needs.

So for all the conspiracy theorists, the answer is yes, state Bar associations do discipline solo practitioners at a higher rate, just not for the reasons you may think.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit


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