Law Practice Management

Shaken by death of lawyer slain by mediation opponent, colleagues ponder safety concerns

Shaken by the death last month of a highly regarded partner of an Arizona law firm, slain along with his client by a litigation opponent in a relatively minor business matter, colleagues and friends of Mark Hummels, 43, as well as those who never knew him, are pondering what can be done to help make the profession safer.

Amelia Cramer, who serves both as president of the State Bar of Arizona and chief deputy attorney for Yuma County, plans to survey the state’s 22,000 lawyers to find out how many have been threatened or attacked. Anecdotally, she already knows the answer—way too many; prosecutors in her 100-attorney Tucson office have been threatened multiple times over the past five years, the National Law Journal reports.

And such issues, of course, are not confined to Arizona. Richard Jensen, an Alabama solo practitioner and former police officer, says he has gotten two credible death threats during his 17 years as a lawyer. One time, his wife found a former child-custody client parked in the family’s driveway, armed with a rifle and awaiting Jensen. On another occasion, a woman who had lost custody of her children drove through a fence on their property and tried to run over his son, then 6 years old.

Earlier coverage: “Fatal shooting after mediation leaves lawyer and client dead” “Dead suspect in shooting of mediation opponents was litigious, had anger issues, lawyer says”

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