May 10, 2007
"Civil Law Is Not An Oxymoron"
The line between zealous advocacy that is offensive/obnoxious and unethical in the sense that it violates professional conduct rules can sometimes be hard to draw. The Delaware Supreme Court overturned a finding of no misconduct by its Board on Professional Responsibility in a case where the lawyer had accused opposing counsel of fabricating legal grounds to challenge a decision by an administrative agency. The court held that the "unfounded allegations" that impunged the integrity of the agency violated Rule 3.5(d). Because the lawyer's "use of offensive and sarcastic language" required a judicial response, the waste of resources violated Rule 8.4(d). Quoting a Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court : "Civil law is not an oxymoron." Sanction: public reprimand in the form of the linked opinion. (Mike Frisch)
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