Thursday, June 11, 2009

How not to practice law: lie to the disciplinary committee

Again, taking a break from grading exams to post this new installment to our on-going series on "how NOT to practice law."

So, here is a little nugget of wisdom: if you make a mistake and have to appear before a disciplinary committee, do not lie! Committing perjury in a disciplinary proceeding is probably not a good idea!

The Legal Profession Blog is reporting today on a case in New York in which the Appellate division disbarred an attorney for, among other things, lying during the disciplinary process. What is interesting is that the court states clearly that the lying in and of itself would have been sufficient to justify the sanction: "Respondent's lack of candor before the Committee, the Referee and Hearing Panel normally arises in the context of aggravation on the issue of sanction. Here, however, as the Referee correctly noted, respondent's pattern of untruthful testimony while under oath before Committee staff constitutes significant misconduct, entirely independent of all his other misconduct which already justifies his disbarment."

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