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LAWYERS NEED TO DISCLOSE THEIR INSURANCE COVERAGE I am a San Francisco attorney and since 1987 my practice has consisted almost exclusively of suing attorneys for malpractice. I read your article in the June 21 Recorder“Bar Mulls Requisite Insurance Disclosure” � with great interest, since one of the biggest problems in suing attorneys is the lack of insurance. I understand it can be difficult for solo attorneys or small firms to afford insurance, but I have no sympathy for the argument that they should not have to disclose their lack of insurance coverage. Between the attorney who does not make a lot of money and the unsuspecting client who may be left without a remedy if his lawyer commits malpractice, there is no question that the client’s interest should come first. The proposal is only for attorneys to disclose their insurance coverage; they will not be forced to purchase insurance. Thus, the proposal does not have a direct economic effect on uninsured attorneys. If a client chooses not to hire an attorney because he or she does not have insurance, that only means the client is making a better informed choice. I really do not see how our profession can argue against allowing our clients making better choices. Mandatory and affordable insurance would be the best solution. I have seen too many cases where clients were left with nothing because their errant attorneys lacked insurance. [James] Towery’s proposal to at least disclose to the client the lack of insurance is a good first step. Paul A. Frassetto San Francisco I read with interest your story about the State Bar’s proposal to require disclosure of malpractice status. I believe this is a good proposal that should be supported by our members. The State Bar’s proposal should be welcomed by our membership as a public protection issue. Clients have a right, and a need, to know about their attorney’s malpractice insurance status. By making this information available, the client has better information to make an informed decision in choosing an attorney. Affordable malpractice insurance for solos is available through several insurance companies, including Lawyers Mutual. Further, there are a variety of techniques available to attorneys to reduce the cost of malpractice insurance. Members need to learn and understand these techniques, if they are concerned about their malpractice insurance costs. As for the idea that the State Bar should mandate insurance, this is just ridiculous. Mandatory insurance, and state run insurance, do not work in any area. I think this is a measure that is overdue. Clients are entitled to know the malpractice insurance status of their attorney, or potential attorney. Jonathan G. Stein Elk Grove ‘JESPERSEN’ RULING TROUBLING FOR GENDER NONCONFORMING WORKERS I write in response to the Recorder’sJune 28 article entitled “Look Sharp: Ninth Circuit upholds gender-specific grooming policies, but opens door to future litigation.” The article, written from the perspective of someone who represents employers, missed the bigger picture of Jespersen’s impact on employees, especially gender nonconforming individuals. As Judge [Alex] Kozinski’s powerful dissent correctly notes, “Women’s faces, just like those of men, can be perfectly presentable without makeup.” He points out that although cultural norms may enforce a requirement that women wear makeup, “cultural norms change.” Indeed, many women “choose to present themselves to the world without makeup.” Like Judge Kozinski, “I see no justification for forcing [women] to conform to [an employer's] quaint notion of what a ‘real woman’ looks like.” I would urge employers examining sex-specific grooming policies to take these words to heart and ensure that they do not enforce harmful stereotypes that heavily burden gender nonconforming individuals and serve no real business justification. Elizabeth Kristen San Francisco CONTINUING EDUCATION BENEFICIAL FOR THE BENCH The Judicial Council will be taking a signal step in improving the quality of judicial services and the public’s confidence in the abilities of our members of the bench by implementing a continuing education requirement [" CJA's guess: Judges can be sent to class," June 23]. As an occasional pro temjudge in small claims court, I have become keenly aware that there are gaps in my knowledge of the law. How much more true that must be of the members of our higher courts, particularly during the first years of service as a judge. In fairness, one might set a limit on continuing education (perhaps to the first 10 years of service). Further, given the diversity of persons in California there most certainly should be included in any such program some requirement for training of judges to be sensitive and self-aware of any racial, religious or gender bias they may bring to the bench. I have seen members of the bench (of various hues) whose actions could be interpreted as either profound ignorance of the law or an inability to overcome an impermissible bias (of which they likely are unaware as they seemed well-meaning generally). I believe I am aware of my own biases, but I would certainly appreciate education that might reveal something I was not aware of or improve my abilities. As an attorney, the MCLE requirement on Elimination of Bias has been of great benefit in becoming, and remaining, self-aware. Tahir J. Naim Sunnyvale

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