Thursday, April 30, 2009

What do you have to do to get disbarred in Alabama?

I spend some time in class looking at the disparities in sanctions imposed for different types of offenses. Inevitably, we conclude that there is little consistency and, thus, I advise my students to remember that no matter what the conduct is, if it is improper a lawyer "always risks disbarment."

Here is a new good example to illustrate the disparity among jurisdictions. In this case, two different jurisdictions imposed discipline for the same conduct. The conduct included entering into a fee agreement that allowed the client a $200 credit for each time she had sex with him and a $400 credit if she arranged for other females to have sex with him.

For this, Alabama imposed a suspension of fifteen months. In a second case of misconduct, Alabama imposed four month suspension. In contrast, the proceedign in Florida involved these two same claims and a third one (misuse of client's funds) and the Florida Supreme Court disbarred the attorney. Which state do you think got it right?

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