Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Protecting The Public: More Than Empty Words

Every disciplinary regime invokes the "need to protect the public" as its explanation for doing whatever it wants to do. For example, some argue that probation protects the public in a better manner than  suspension because the supervision may assist the lawyer in improving practice skills and prevent future violations. Of course, suspension protects the public completely so long as the lawyer complies with the court's order (which should not be taken for granted). There are two legitimate sides to these and other issues relating to enforcement of ethics rules.

It cannot be subject of debate that, once a lawyer has been found by a disciplinary committee to have converted entrusted funds, a prompt interim suspension best protects the public from future defalcations. The Arkansas Supreme Court recognized the need for such action in a recent case and entered such an order. (Mike Frisch)


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