B. Professional Conduct Duties of the Lawyer to the Client and to the Administration of Justice

The following are issues that the mentor and mentee might consider discussing regarding a lawyer’s duties to the client and to the administration of justice.

  1. What are the consequences when a lawyer is engaged in misconduct? What are examples of “conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice”? Might these examples also fall under the Rule 3.5(d) prohibition of “conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal”?
  2. How does “zealous” advocacy conform to duties of “civility”? When can zealous advocacy cross the line into incivility?
  3. Consider real-world examples of incivility and unprofessional behavior interfering with the administration of justice that may rise to the level of sanction or discipline:
    1. Respondent engaged in disparaging, humiliating and discriminatory e-mails against opposing counsel (Florida Bar v. Mitchell, SC10-637 (Fla. 2010));
    2. Respondent found guilty of unlawful misconduct while engaging in a series disparaging, humiliating, and discriminatory e-mails against opposing counsel (Florida Bar v. Mooney, SC10-640 (Fla. 2010));
    3. Posting information on website about confidential disciplinary investigation into alleged misconduct of rival law firm (In re Moran, 840 N.Y.S.2d 847 (N.Y. App. Div. 2007));
    4. Filing briefs making inflammatory personal attacks against opposing counsel (In re Abbott, 925 A.2d 482 (Del. 2007));
    5. Harassing and humiliating deponents and mischaracterizing deponents’ statements (In re Fletcher, 424 F.3d 783 (8th Cir. 2005));
    6. Making accusations of bias and racism in retaliation for an unfavorable ruling (In re Hayes, 777 N.Y.S.2d 120 (N.Y. App. Div. 2004));
    7. Filing petitions that demean the judiciary and the legal profession (In re McClellan, 754 N.E.2d 500 (Ind. 2001));
    8. Using profanities and physically attacking opposing counsel (In re Moore, 665 N.E.2d 40 (Ind. 1996); In re McClellan, 754 N.E.2d 500 (Ind. 2001)); and
    9. Failing to set forth a cogent legal argument in a brief, while accusing opposing counsel, using “inflammatory language” and “caustic rhetoric,” of lying, acting illegally, violating the rules of professional conduct, defying court orders, and litigating the case for improper motives (Martin v. Essrig, 277 P.3d 857 (Colo. App. 2011)).

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