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Year-End Lists: Legal Hellholes and Devilish Lawyers

It is that most wonderful time of year, when we make our lists and check them twice -- not holiday lists but those perennial best-of and worst-of year-enders. We have three for you today.

First up, the American Tort Reform Association's annual ranking of Judicial Hellholes, its picks of the most unfair jurisdictions in which to be sued. Its top pick this year is South Florida, "known for its medical malpractice claims, never-ending tobacco lawsuits and generous verdicts." West Virginia, its top pick last year and in 2006, moved to second place. ATRA describes it as a place where local plaintiffs have a "home court advantage provided by locally elected judges." The four other jurisdictions making the list are Cook County, Ill., Atlantic County, N.J., New Mexico's appellate courts, and New York City.

From legal hellholes, we go to devilish lawyers. The Avvo Blog yesterday published its picks of the Top Lawyers Behaving Badly of 2009. Topping its list is Brian Schroeder, the fresh-from-Harvard lawyer who got drunk on Halloween and burned down a New York City chapel that housed the remains of unidentified 9/11 victims, causing his imminent employer, Sidley Austin, to rescind its job offer. Another of Avvo's picks is Orly Taitz, the lawyer, dentist and real estate broker whose leading role in a "birther" movement lawsuit prompted a federal judge to call her filing "delusional" and slap her with a $20,000 fine.

Last but not least, we have The Year's 10 Most Infamous Lawyers as brought to us by The Business Insider. Among the notorious lawyers making this list is Paul Bergrin, the New Jersey criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor indicted on charges he had one witness killed and hired a hit man to kill another, explaining, "No witness, no case." Others who made the cut include former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, powerhouse-lawyer turned powerhouse-defendant Marc Dreier, Florida lawyer and accused Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein, and misbehaving federal judges Samuel Kent of Texas and Thomas Porteus Jr. of Louisiana.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 16, 2009 at 02:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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