Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How not to practice law: provide the wrong citation to key cases so the judge goes nuts trying to find them

Here is another installment of our public service series "How NOT to practice law." Today's lesson is an old classic: piss off the judge! or go ahead and do what you can to make the judge's life/job more difficult.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has reportedly imposed a fine on a lawyer for getting a citation wrong in a brief. The problem is not that the citation was wrong per se, though. The problem is that the court had to go on a wild chase for the case the lawyer cited. Given that the attorney provided the wrong name of the case, the wrong citation and the wrong deciding court it was hard to figure out if the case actually existed and held what the attorney claimed it did. After some sleuthing, the court eventually did find a case -different name, cite, court, etc. but did not forgive the fact that the attorney's carelessness caused it to waste so much time and effort.

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