UCSON: The Baja Arizona Bar Association (BABA) has proposed an innovative solution to the spiraling cost of litigation, rising insurance premiums, and exploding medical costs.

"It is obvious that there are too many hungry lawyers in our country," said Phil Brick, head of BABA. "The result is lawsuits are filed over every trivial matter in the hope that the defendant is insured."

Insurance companies have tried for years to curtail the rise in litigation, and one of the major costs of health care is malpractice insurance.

"The solution," Brick said, "is a Lawyer Buy Out program."

Brick explained that America had pioneered the concept of getting paid for not doing something in its farm program, which paid farmers not to plant cotton or wheat.

"If anyone ran the numbers, it would be obvious that it would be cheaper to the society as a whole to pay lawyers not to practice law, than to leave these hungry wolves to try and support themselves," Brick noted.

The Lawyer Buy Out program would be funded by America's insurance companies, Brick suggested. "Instead of paying out outrageous judgments and settlements, the companies would fund a trust fund which would pay lawyers to take early retirement from their practices, and do something useful with their lives," Brick said.

Young lawyers just starting their practices would be paid $75,000 a year not to practice law, and older lawyers (who are more dangerous since they are experienced) would be paid $150,000 a year to quit. It would be assumed that lawyers would work until they are at least 70.

"A companion measure would be to force lawyers who score million dollar verdicts to retire," Brick added. "Their licenses to practice law would be automatically suspended.

Insurance executives were guardedly optimistic about the Lawyer Buy Out program. "I think we might seriously consider this as long as the number of admissions to law schools was strictly limited in the future," said Bob Slowpay, head of the Blue Sky Insurance Company.