Tuesday, October 26, 2010
What You Do, On Your Way Out of the Door--Karma Ghosts
This video has played a major symbolic role in my understanding of my current situation and it has helped me organize my thinking about justice. The reporting about a disciplinary case, and the story I published yesterday, about the lawyer caught stealing from the blind vendor brought the clip to mind, once again. If you have never seen it, it takes about 6 minutes, but it will stick with you.
The Legal Profession blawg (as I've said on many occasions, an invaluable resource) had this link to a disciplinary case opinion from the Commonwealth of Virginia relating to a public reprimand issued vis-a-vis the outgoing Attorney for Floyd County, Va. Former County Attorney Gordon Hannett, Jr. trashed several computer hard drives belonging presumably to the citizens of Floyd County on his way out of office.
Obviously, most attorneys who've practiced for anytime know of situations where attorneys engage in the most juvenile behavior, generally, as I've demonstrated with extreme clarity over the last year; but, especially so, (for some) when departing from former practices. This usually is manifest in extremely ill-advised litigation versus former partners, associates, law firms, and employers; but this vandalizing of property is so unbelievably childish that it's refreshing to see someone get whacked by the disciplinary authorities.
In OurCounty the number of lawsuits among former law partners could fill a volume or two "reporters," although I haven't seen a hard copy "reporter" in quite a while come to think of it. Father against son, son against father, cousins suing cousins, Big Law suing departing practice groups, associates suing former firms on various aspirational theories. The BSL (my wife, the Blond Super Lawyer) and I were sued for fraud, etceterra, following the break up of the BSL's law practice by a former associate employee and the BSL's former law partner. That law suit settled last week for nickels after two and half years of pre-trial hearings.
The problem with the post-law firm break up litigation is that it accomplishes, nothing; the litigation distracts from everything, especially representing clients and making a living; and, when the fact of the litigation becomes well-known within the practice-area of any given region, the folks initiating the lawsuit are forever after mistrusted, unless there was some really compelling justification. And even then who wants to work with someone who is going to sue you afterwards? Just because you can wreck havoc, don't wreck havoc--no one will trust you; no one wants to do future business with you; no one will sympathize with you. I realize I am repeating myself, but these are hard life lessons learned--learn these lessons at my expense.
Now having spent years being sued into a turnip I genuinely have no animosity.
Did I call my wife's former coleagues names? Not going to happen. In fact, from the bottom of my heart I wish them peace, prosperity and joy.
These lawyers initiated the reporting of my tax offenses to the IRS, as well as my escrow account practices to the OurState disciplinary counsel. While I am going to go to prison for several months, and I have temporarily (?) lost my license to practice law, these lawyers saved my sanity and possibly my life. I am sober. My head is held high. I've spent the last year and a half helping myself and others and conducting a pretty thorough inventory of character defects which if you have followed the Bad Lawyer blawg--you can read for yourself. My wife's former colleagues did not cause my fall, they did not commit my ethical lapses or my tax offenses. I did. In fact, these former associates did have an obligation under the rules of professional responsibility to report what they perceived to be my offenses. At great personal karmic cost to their reputations among the lawyers we intimately practiced together with for nearly 3 decades, these former colleagues, blew the whistle.
Someday I will have completely paid the price for what I did. Someday the BSL may re-emerge from our crushing debt. But these guys who went out the door, my sense is that they are haunted by karma ghosts.