» Professionalism

Unethical Lawyers

A lot of disgraceful attorneys have been making news lately. This post brings up some good points. It also poses some interesting questions. I think that law is for a number of attorneys a very desperate profession right now. A lot of lawyers are greedy, and many more are hesitant about reporting other lawyers’ ethical violations because they worry they might someday find themselves in the same situation. Law schools should do something, as they are primarily responsible for the current state of the legal profession. Unfortunately, I doubt that what they’re likely to do will make any difference. They will probably just add another course to the curriculum. Maybe some smart professors will convince the powers-that-be to change the language of the ethics … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ethics, Practice in General, Professionalism

Terrible Policies

I won’t name names here, but there is one prosecutor’s office in Arizona that has particularly rigid and often ridiculous office policies regarding plea bargains and a number of other important things that, in my opinion, should be left to the sound judgment of individual prosecutors. Some of the office’s policies are so draconian and inflexible that they are known by pretty much anyone who is even minimally involved with Arizona’s criminal justice system. I imagine 99% of people reading this post instantly knew which office I meant after reading the first sentence. Anyway, in two cases this year where I wrote the assigned prosecutors letters presenting overwhelming exculpatory evidence and requesting the cases be dismissed, I had conversations like this: Me: Have you looked over what I gave you? Them: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Professionalism, Prosecutors

Courtroom Manners

In a certain jurisdiction where I regularly find myself practicing, defense attorneys line up to call their cases. Generally, it works out well. If I have a quick matter, like a continuance, the other attorneys let me go first. If I know I’m going to be there for a while, I’ll let other attorneys go ahead. Of course, my primary concern is what my client wants. If my clients want me to call the case as soon as possible, unless there’s a compelling reason not to, that’s exactly what I do. A couple months ago, an attorney showed up (I was the first person in the courtroom, but I was speaking with the bailiff) and went straight to the front. His entire demeanor was arrogant … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Professionalism

Rules v. Standard Practice

Recently, I amused a judge because I followed the text of a rule of criminal procedure instead of doing what everyone else in the jurisdiction does. He told me I deserved a “gold star,” and I’m not sure how I feel about that. According to the rule, which is very clear, I was responsible for editing a copy of a physicians report within 24 hours of receipt and returning it to the court so it could be made available to the State. Apparently, most attorneys just get the report, redact it at their leisure, and give it to the State a day or so before the hearing. At every step of a case, I tend to look at the governing statue or rule whenever there might be a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Procedural Rules, Professionalism

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