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Lawyers Behaving Badly

February 12, 2008

Handshake Sends Attorney to Jail: A commercial litigation attorney was arrested and charged with assault for shaking a federal prosecutor’s hand so hard that it injured her shoulder.

Two Massachusetts attorneys were disbarred for, as the Boston Globe reported, “orchestrating an elaborate scheme to discredit a judge by tricking and intimidating the judge’s law clerk.”  The two, along with another attorney, wanted to show that a former judge was biased during a long, legal battle.  “The trio allegedly engaged in a bizarre plot to lure the law clerk into confirming their theory…[the law clerk] was presented with a bogus job offer. He traveled to fake job interviews in Nova Scotia, Manhattan, and Boston, and was secretly taped. The goal was to extract information about [the judge] and then use it to undermine the decision. After the lawyers allegedly revealed their true motives to [the law clerk] and threatened to disclose embarrassing information about him, he went to the FBI. FBI agents persuaded him to wear a wire and secretly tape-record conversations with the lawyers.” Ultimately, their conduct was not illegal. 

The Chief Justice wrote that the lawyers were disbarred because they “caused needless embarrassment to a judge, an attorney, and their respective families; mocked the foundations of good-faith dealings and respect for the orderly administration of justice on which the legal profession stands; and damaged the public’s perception of our legal system.”

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