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March 23, 2009

David Harlow reprises Social Media for Lawyers presentation at Boston University

I'm proud to be a part of the Massachusetts Bar Association Law Practice Management section which, under the leadership of co-chairs Alan Klevan and Rodney Dowell, has set a high bar for programs and publications.  I've been involved in a couple of LPM's downtown and law school programs, and contributed one of the recent publications (twitter for lawyers).  This evening I will be participating in the LPM Going Small or Solo program for law students and alumni at the Boston University School of Law.  My presentation, Marketing Your Legal Practice Using Social Media, complete with links to useful resources, is available here for your viewing pleasure.  Please let me know what you think.

David Harlow
The Harlow Group LLC
Health Care Law and Consulting


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No lawyer jokes, I promise.

You may already have seen this, but it was new to me as a layman doing some homework. A popular trope for many outsiders is a purported need for "tort reform" which is a buzzword for capping malpractice awards. This commentary by a guest poster at Maggie Mahar's blog impressed me.

►Protection Against the Threat of Malpractice Suits◄

"Many health care providers will be willing to implement these changes in their practices if the government provided them with cover by setting standards and explaining the standards to both providers and the public. This is partly because most providers really do want to provide the best possible care (and almost all believe they do,) and partly because establishing practice standards could protect against inappropriate lawsuits.

"The most dramatic example of this can be seen in the history of anesthesiology. In the mid-70’s, anesthesiologists faced the highest malpractice insurance premiums of any specialty – often as high as $100,000 a year (and those are 1975 dollars, remember.) The Society of Anesthesiology, realizing that this was threatening the viability of many practices, created a national panel which developed a set of specific standards for anesthesia practice.

"They then created a task force of lawyers and academic experts that offered its support to any practitioner who could document that they had followed the standards but was still being sued. Verdicts against anesthesiologists plunged ,and--since plaintiffs attorneys cannot afford to lose regularly –the number of lawsuits declined sharply Insurance premiums fell by 90%.

"More importantly, complications of anesthesia and deaths from anesthesia also declined. The standards not only had the desired result of ending the malpractice crisis in anesthesia, but also made anesthetic management safer and more effective. This created an impressive win for the patients as well as the doctors.

"This effect of practice standards on the malpractice climate could be helped along mightily if states passed legislation to codify the fact that documented proof of following best standards promulgated by federal agencies would serve as a clear and binding defense against charges of malpractice. This is not to say that patients do not deserve to be compensated when real malpractice occurs, but that the public also deserve protection from inappropriate and sometimes dangerous procedures, tests, and treatments ordered as 'defensive' medicine to try to avoid lawsuits."

Any thoughts?

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