Saturday, September 25, 2010

How not to practice law: ask client to pay fees with drugs

Here is the most recent addition to our running list of examples of how not to practice law. This is one we have seen before (here) and it should be pretty obvious. As usual, the underlying principle is simple: don't ask your client to pay your fees with cocaine!

The Legal Profession blog and are reporting that North Dakota's Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney for asking a client for cocaine.

Aside from the basic principle, though, the issue of drug addiction presents another problem. If the attorney has an addiction, is disbarment the proper sanction? Should the bar have a duty to attempt to help the lawyer seek rehab? Would it be better to suspend the lawyer subject to proof of completion of rehab and then allow the lawyer to be readmitted subject to conditions like periodic testing or something like that? Or is the risk to clients to high?

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