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Lawyers: An Endangered Species?

They may not engender much sympathy.  But, under the pressures of law practice and client grievances, many lawyers have become an endangered species.

Lest there be any doubt that lawyers are an endangered class, a few minutes on AttorneyGrievance.com should provide more than ample confirmation.

According to this new website, which was designed to assist lawyers facing disciplinary action or investigations, cases brought before the Court of Appeals of Maryland often cost lawyers their licenses.  Indeed, in cataloging the Court's decision for the past three years, disbarments and indefinite suspensions appeared to be the two most popular sanctions.

This is not to suggest that these decisions were improper.  But it should lay to rest any question as to whether the legal profession aggressively polices its own practitioners.

The head cop carries the title of "Bar Counsel."  He and his team of deputies, assistants and investigators spare no effort to kick bad barristers out of the bar.  But, as the cases emphasize, dishonest lawyers aren't the only ones suspended or disbarred.  When it comes to seemingly innocent mistakes, attorneys do not seem to benefit from the presumption of innocence that protects the rest of society.

As courts hold attorneys to a higher standard of professionalism, members of the bar face greater scrutiny than ever before.  And, as the adage goes, those who represent themselves before bar counsel may have fools for clients.

Yes, lawyers need lawyers too ... particularly in a state where legal livelihoods are placed in danger of extinction in every case coming before the Court of Appeals.

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