June 30, 2009
Grease Is The Word
An Arizona hearing officer rejected a number of ethics charges filed against an attorney by a former client and recommended an informal reprimand for failing to provide the client with a written retainer agreement. The rejected charges involved the following: that the attorney "went to a party and took multiple drags from [a] marijuana joint," that he had told the client he had once paid for a blow job, and that he had thrown a malfunctioning hand-held tape recorder in a pique or anger during a meeting with the client.
The hearing officer:
The squeaky wheel is not always entitled to be greased. In this case Complainant is the loudly squeaky wheel that caused the Arizona State Bar to file an ill-advised complaint, although to its credit the Bar first winnowed out the more flagrant of Complainant's accusations. Nonetheless, Complainant seems likely to emerge with what he was most after, escape from paying a legitimate substantial bill for legal services.
The hearing officer concluded that there was no evidence that the lawyer's performance was in any way impaired by the charged incidents and rejected the Bar's contention "that a lawyer's character flaws and weaknesses, independant of any effect on his actual practice of law, can be ethical violations simply because he or she is a lawyer." (Mike Frisch)
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