Was That Wrong?

It’s been a while.

Was That Wrong? is a semi-regular column on Ethical Grounds. The column features stories of the absurd & outrageous from the world of legal ethics and attorney discipline. My aim is to highlight misconduct that I hope you’ll instinctively avoid without needing me to convene a continuing legal education seminar that cautions you to do so.

The column is inspired by the “Red Dot” episode of Seinfeld. In the episode, George Costanza has sex in his office with a character known only as “the cleaning woman.”  His boss finds out.  Here’s their ensuing exchange :

(Scene) In the boss’ office.

  • Boss: I’m going to get right to the point. It has come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?
  • George: Who said that?
  • Boss: She did.
  • George: Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon, you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices and I tell you people do that all the time.
  • Boss: You’re fired.
  • George: Well you didn’t have to say it like that.

The full script is HERE.  The scene is HERE.

Today’s column involves a 2013 order suspending a North Carolina lawyer’s license for 5 years. I learned about it after reading on the Legal Profession Blog and in The Charlotte Observer that the lawyer has petitioned for reinstatement.

Someday I hope to launch a YouTube channel tied to this blog.  When I do, I’ll adapt Was That Wrong entries to the screen.  Here’s how I envision scripting today’s:

  • Disciplinary Commission:  We’re going to get right to the point.  It’s come to our attention that you sued Defendant on behalf of Plaintiff.  Then, without telling Plaintiff, you started representing Defendant in other, unrelated matters. And, finally, while continuing to represent both Plaintiff & Defendant, you had a sexual relationship with Defendant.
  • Lawyer:  Who said that?
  • Disciplinary Commission:  Plaintiff and Defendant.
  • Lawyer: Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started practicing that that sort of thing was frowned upon, you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices and I tell you people do that all the time.
  • Disciplinary Commission:  5 year suspension.
  • Lawyer:  Well you didn’t have to say it like that.

*********************************************************************************

Here are the previous entries in Was That Wrong?

costanza

Advertisements

One thought on “Was That Wrong?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s