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DARWIN AWARDS FOR ATTORNEYS

In the grand tradition of the Darwin Awards comes Carolyn Elefant's latest post. In "What's Worse -- A Lying Lawyer or A Stupid, Greedy One?," Elefant tells the story of an attorney who's being disciplined for duping two colleagues into joining a fictitious law firm.

Elefant, as she is wont to do, does a little ex post facto reading-between-the-lines for the two colleagues -- and, happily for this reader, she doesn't hold back:

"Here's my real beef.  If dishonesty, outside the context of an attorney-client relationship is grounds for disbarment, why isn't greed and incompetence?  After all, what were those lawyers who left their jobs thinking when a former public defender claimed to have $5.2 million to start a firm?  Did those lawyers think it was a wise business move to work for an attorney who offered to buy them BMWs rather than reinvesting the money back in the firm?  Did the lawyers ask whether Sutherin had a business plan for further growth of the firm or office space or even a Web site? Were they at all concerned that a former public defender, who I'm assuming had no previous experience running a law firm, would be capable of launching a practice that would succeed from the start? Did they try to negotiate some kind of written employment agreement? At best, the duped attorneys were guilty of simple incompetence in failing to protect their own interests and at worst, of allowing the lure of fancy cars and high salaries to obscure their good judgment.  Surely, we don't want that kind of attorney in practice any more than a dishonest one.  So why weren't those attorneys subject to discipline also?"

More here.

Posted by Laurel Newby on February 28, 2005 at 02:21 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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