Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stonewall's Defeat

A majority of the Washington State Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney who was charged with a multiple-client conflict of interest and assisting the practice of a suspended lawyer. The majority was less than impressed with his attitude:

[The attorney] engaged in a deliberate attempt to stonewall, prolong, and ultimately defeat the disciplinary proceedings against him.  Thus far, his campaign has been successful: he managed to drag out the disciplinary process for five years, consuming far more of the Board's resources than were necessary for a good-faith, thorough resolution of his case.  He continues to assert that his conduct is upright and characterizes the entire disciplinary process as "fascist."  [His] conduct throughout the proceedings undermines the self governing nature of the practice of law: if all lawyers accused of misconduct were as intentionally uncooperative as [him]  has been, self-regulation would be impossible. The threat such conduct poses to the profession merits severe punishment.  Therefore, we disbar [him].

The dissent would impose suspension, concluding that the actions characterized as uncooperative were "misguided, frivolous, and, undoubtedly irritating to the bar, the hearing officer and the Disciplinary Board" but within the governing procedural rules.

The dissenting justice should know that irritating a disciplinary board is the worst of all possible offenses, one that I have committed in the past and expect to do again if the opportunity presents itself. (Mike Frisch)

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Must be darned annoying when the lawyer sheep doesn't go meekly to the slaughter.

Query, doesn't the Board's conclusion that the attorney should be disbarred violate Raffalo? The attorney was charged with, and responding to relatively minor violations. He never had notice that he might be disbarred for not being a good sheep. Therefore, his filings before the Hearing Officer became the basis for his disbarment -- a classic Raffalo violation.


Posted by: FixedWing | Sep 9, 2010 10:14:19 AM

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