Friday, October 16, 2009

Bad Lawyers and Good Lawyers

Yesterday, I had lunch with my dear pal, Chris. Chris and I are brothers from different mothers, and we are at similar points in our trajectories personally and professionally. Poor Chris.

Chris has professional experience in IT and PR. When I started my blog I asked for Chris' help in publicizing it and he has hesitated because he says I’m not a Bad Lawyer. In response I sued him. OK, I didn’t sue him, but I insisted that he was mistaken. Chris still hasn't done shiat, I think he wants "crates of money." Hah, he's out of luck.

Also, yesterday that the Supremes of Our State suspended a lawyer of my acquaintance for backdating and notarizing some documents out of sight of the signatory. While I don’t condone such an act, it is absolutely wrong—this was the lawyer’s first offense in 47 years of practice. This is a demonstrably good lawyer who made a no harm/no foul/no injury one time mistake—he will now be suspended. This African/American lawyer provided affordable legal services to a disadvantaged community. This attorney's name is now permanently sullied. Good lawyer or bad lawyer?

I believe I previously mentioned the Judge here in Your Home Town who is up on disciplinary charges because he demanded that a criminal defendant appearing in front of him, cease and desist witness intimidation. The Judge immediately recused himself from further proceedings in the case. This same judge, a graduate of one of the Vatican’s great boy’s preparatory high schools , here in Your Hometown, went after the Bishop and the Bishop’s cronies for gaming the elected officials of Your State during the child sex abuse scandal. Disciplinary counsel is going great guns after the Judge because at the Hometown Law School conference the same Judge had the temerity to criticize the disciplinary counsel's focus on "low-hanging fruit" in the selection of lawyers to persecute, er, prosecute. Good Lawyer or Bad Lawyer?

There really are no good excuses for the mistakes and wrongs committed by Bad Lawyers like myself. We should always make it to court on time, have all of our documents in pristine order, give only perfect advice, win all of our cases, timely file all of our business records, especially our taxes; and, always make sure our bills are timely paid. Anything less—well, the lawyers on Our State’s payroll just won’t tolerate our lack of ethics. The Supremes with their massive private sector experience (in major law firms with marble foyers, silver service, and expense accounts) won’t understand. And Bad Lawyers will be immortalized in the pages of the Bar Journals and if we’re really lucky—in Our Hometown newspapers.

All the pro bono services; all the public service; all the speaking out for the poor, the cowering victims, the individual against the power and majesty of the courts and law; all the professional development and mentoring of other lawyers--none of that can compare with the honor of being a Bad Lawyer.


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