Monday, March 5, 2012

National Data Bank for Bad lawyers: the time has come

National Data Bank for bad lawyers: the time has come

America has been flooded with lawyers. Herds of new lawyers are unleashed on the public yearly. These former social science majors found that their college degrees offered them few job opportunities, therefore a three year law school program became attractive. As they emerged from their educational cocoons these former law students realized that the road to wealth is a reality that most of them will not achieve. In order to move up the food chain many will follow a dark path that will lead them away from the Promised Land to sanctions and even expulsion from this former noble profession. Lawyers are sanctioned for many reasons: lying to judges, filing frivolous cases, withholding evidence, manufacturing evidence, monetary indiscretions, drug and alcohol abuse, criminal offenses and more. In many jurisdictions even the most egregious crimes by attorneys are given a pass by State Bar Associations and or totally suppressed by them. In the book Demons of Democracy we enumerate many infractions of the law that would have put others in jail, but those with suits and briefcases seem to have a get out of jail card. Judges and prosecutors are no exception when they fall on the other side of the law. Many levels of immunity inoculate them from their own deceits and failures. Imposed on physicians several decades ago by the legal profession was the National Data Bank. It was established to collect information on physicians sanctioned by medical boards or who were sued into oblivion by a profession that lost its way long ago. The time has come to collect similar data on lawyers who presently can move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with impunity. Judges, lawyers, paralegals and others who perform work in the legal realm would be included in this data bank, without exception. The quiescent manner in which lawyers are disciplined would now be out in the open so others would know of their fall from grace. Bad judges and lawyers would find the same public condemnation that is now inflicted on physicians because of their data bank entries. There are approximately 300,000 more lawyers than physicians. Yet the disciplinary rate amongst attorneys is a fraction of physicians. Are they better people, I doubt it. Perhaps sanctioning is done in a manner that squelches most complaints. A National Data Bank would impede bad lawyers from finding refuge in other domains and would keep bad judges off the bench. In most states the majority of complaints against lawyers and judges are trashed (see Demons of Democracy, chapter Disciplining the Demons). Unless the public calls for further scrutiny of the one profession that has screwed America the most, a data bank will never come into being. Mark Davis, author of Demons of Democracy.

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