Friday, March 21, 2014
The show must go on. This is the lesson that Illinois attorney Michael Joseph Finn learned. He was accused and later admitted to faking an illness in order to get out of doing an oral argument before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
On the day in question, he alerted the court that he was sick and had vomited earlier that morning. He later reiterated the story once questioned by the ethics board before finally admitting that he was simply unprepared to present that day. This admission led to the Illinois Supreme Court issuing an order on March 14, 2014 suspending his license for 60 days. He also received a $1,000 fine and was ordered to pay restitution of $5,000 to the client.
The moral to the story: be prepared. If you are not prepared, timely request a continuance. If it is too late to make such a request, do not fake an illness to avoid your responsibility to your client. The better route is to pull and all-nighter preparing, show up and do your very best, and then vow that you will never put yourself in such a precarious situation again.
Hat tip to ABA Journal.