Posts tagged legal profession
Publicity in civil cases according to the Rules of Professional Conduct

(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter. (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a lawyer may state:

Read More
Dear injured (or dead) person - hire me: The shame of being in a profession, where lawyers directly solicit clients.

Based upon a true story:

Last week, my wife of 35 years was driving to the store and was hit by another car.  The police came to my house to take me to the hospital to see her.  She's been there ever since.  We don't think she will make it.

Each day I drive or am driven to the hospital by our children.  I stay there as long as I can.  I just had surgery myself.  So I need to come home to try to rest in between rushing back to be with her.

Read More
The ghost writer

Today a ghost writer offered to secretly write my blog.

Before deleting her spam, I took a peek at the links to the firms she writes for.  Bet they'll be happy to know they've been outed. 

It is slimy to hire someone to do legal blogging without disclosing that the writer is: a) not a member of the firm and b) not a lawyer.  Plus maintaining a blog simply for the sake of having a blog, is kinda lame.

Read More
Why "Honey I did great in trial today" may violate ethics rules - and what to do about it.

Lawyers love rules.  Lawyers also tend to be OCD.  Rules + OCD = an intricate, layered, never ending monstrous pile of rules that becomes increasingly difficult to navigate.  The legal profession calls this - job security.

We are equal opportunity OCD rule creators.  We even create rules to govern ourselves.  Some of them are breathtakenly overbroad and impossible to humanly adhere to.

Read More
Overdosing on civility

There are some aggravating people in this profession.  That suits me just fine.  Being nice has its place.  But it is fun to wrestle with opponents.

Today am spammed with a brochure.  Touts a two day seminar on civility in the profession.  Sorry to say this pretty much brings up gag reflex.  Here's what it says:

In this intensive 2-day program we will strive to create a retreat-like seminar* to engage in a dialogue about civility. After we explore characteristics of civility, we will discuss the costs of incivility, the benefits of civility, the foundations of civility, and strategies to foster civility within our personal and professional lives. In addition to traditional lectures and presentations, this immersion seminar will include interactive and creative exercises.  *To facilitate a relaxed atmosphere please wear casual clothing and unplug from laptops, emails and phones.

Read More
WSBA challenges me to be civil - but can It be? part 3 (the end)

Dear Karen,

It doesn’t matter to me what a lawyer is wearing, I just think we ought to show more respect to one another.

I did answer your question, just not as you phrased it because: (1) as phrased it didn’t make sense to me; and (2) it posed a false choice.  Is your point that, on the rarest of occasions—indeed one I have never seen—where the lawyer is faced with a choice between pursuing the client’s best interest on the one hand, and acting civilly on the other, the lawyer should act uncivilly?  If so, I suppose I would agree.  I just don’t think that happens very often, if ever.  I do, however, think that lawyers use that claim as an excuse for uncivilized conduct all the time; I just don’t buy it.

Read More
WSBA challenges me to be civil - but can It be? part 2

Dear Karen,

Sarcasm is a good example.  Your email is laced with it, but it does not advance your cause.   It does, though, increase the friction of the dialogue, unnecessarily so.   That is part of my point.  As soon as we inject sarcasm, condescension or the like, the discussion gets heated when it really doesn’t need to.  If I didn’t know you were just trying to prove a point, I may respond emotionally and attack you on a personal level, and so the downward spiral would begin.

Read More
WSBA challenges me to be civil - but can It be? part 1

Dear Sims:

What right does the WSBA have to tell us we need to smile when dealing with opponents.    If we aren’t violating the rules for professional conduct by doing something dastardly – like lying – why can’t we be stern.  Or down right grumpy.  Since when has society wanted attorneys to be nice and friendly  as we go off to fight for our clients’ rights.    As you can tell, I don’t think much of the WSBA’s new “civility” initiative.    I’m a trial attorney.  That means I’m a warrior.  As long as I behave professionally, it shouldn’t matter if I’m being sweet or not.

Read More
Rob McKenna's nasty crusade

Like the Sheriff of Nottingham Forest, our Attorney General is on quite a crusade.  According to him, our poor government is in a big gigantic financial mess and guess who’s to blame – why the trial attorneys of course! They file “abusive lawsuits.”  Prey against “vulnerable” taxpayers.  Take money from the injured and apparently give it to the democrats.

McKenna hopes that citizens will rise to his Shakespearean cry of “kill all the lawyers.”  Ummm.  Excuse me.  But isn’t McKenna the King of all Washington lawyers…

Read More
Dear Bar Association. My number one goal isn't to be civil.

The front cover of our bar association journal announces a new series:  “Raising the Bar:  The promise of Civility in Our Profession.”

My skin is crawling and not because I’m a total beast.

I am all in favor of being civil whenever possible.  But sometimes it isn’t.  At least not for trial lawyers.  Our duty is to help our clients get a fair shake.  Rules require that we behave.  But since when did I need to focus on being kind and gracious to the other side.  Especially when they are trying to do bad things.

Read More
Lessons in Humility

This article was published in WSTLA Trial News in 2000.

Trial Lawyers are often perceived by the public as arrogant and phony.  This is because the art of braggadocio is so prevalent and even sometimes necessary in our profession.   Behind the show lie those memories that need to be periodically replayed so we don’t buy into the myth of our professional persona.

Read More

We are at a convention banquet and it is my last official appearance as President of my state trial lawyer association.  Gerhard – the Executive Director – is going to say a few words.  I’m sitting up on the podium along with other officers looking at the audience of smiling faces.  This is a tradition.  Time to pass the gavel.  And Gerhard starts off:  “I have to admit, I was kind of dreading having Karen as President.”  The audience gasps.  Not sure.  Is that a joke?

Read More

I'm driving home from work, trying to bypass the Mercer Street mess (if you live in Seattle, you know what that is).  I go south over the viaduct go through the stadium district up Edgar Martinez Way (if you are a Mariners fan you know who he is) come to a stop light.  I'm waiting to get onto I-90.  Settling into a zen-like state as part of traffic aggravation-avoidance strategies, when I almost swallow my gum.  Ok, understand gum chewing is probably not a good thing do to when in search of Ooooohm.  But I like popping bubbles.

Read More
From my kids: Proud to be a trial lawyer's daughter

This article was published in the fall of 2005.  Last month, a stallwart of the state bar association told me how he still remembers this article - and as he talked about it, I saw him tear up.  I take no credit for this.  My girls were 16, 14 and 11 when they wrote this in honor of me receiving the trial lawyer of the year award from WSTLA now WSAJ: Proud to be...a trial lawyer's child.

Read More
Which of us is right - did I interfere or did she harass

We aren't supposed to spit, scratch and yell during lawsuits.  Most of us do our very best to be as civil as possible.  I have numbers of friends I've made who are on the other side.  They are the ones who nick named me velvet hammer because "you are nice and soft spoken and will smile as you are pounding on us relentlessly."  Donna and I will most likely not ever make it to the friend category.  Miracles can happen, but she bristled at me as soon as I walked into the room.  And I don't even know her.

Read More