July 2, 2008
No Margin For Error
The Delaware Supreme Court recently issued an order concerning an attorney who was found to have violated a number of disciplinary rules and suspended for one year. The court's order states that any additional disciplinary violation by the attorney over the next five years will result in automatic disbarment. I have not seen many sanction orders (indeed, I don't think I've ever seen one) where the penalty for the next misstep is made so explicit. (Mike Frisch)
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Wow, me either. I like the Get Tough attitude, but this operationalizes it in a bizarre way, to me. The next violation may be technical or controversial (an advertisement that is "deceptive" because it includes a cartoon of a shark?) or fact intensive (a conflict of interest that may be OK in some courts?). Or so minor that disbarment is out of whack.
Plus this makes for perverse incentives/disincentives for others to report future conduct, sort of like my aunt who taught college in the 60s and had to weigh whether each slacker or dull boy student with a C- deserved to go to Nam by the stroke of her pen.
Posted by: | Jul 3, 2008 2:11:50 AM