Sometimes it’s hard to choose what to have for Thanksgiving dinner, especially this year when things are unsettling and uneasy, and we’re cautioned to keep safe, mask up, and keep our distance. I love the Turkey Day sides, the stuffing (or dressing, depending upon location), the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes in one form or another, at least two kinds of pie, and since there has to be a green vegetable, green bean casserole, which, in this form, doesn’t meet my definition of a vegetable. Plus, cranberry sauce, plus gravy. And rolls, in some form or another, for the inevitable next-day turkey sandwiches. Food coma, anyone?
I could not care less about the turkey; however it’s prepared, traditional baked in the oven, deep fried, spatch-cocked (look it up). What I do care about are the turkeys in our profession, and, as I think we all know, a slang definition of turkey includes the terms loser, naïve, stupid, inept, or all of them.
There have been so many this year that it’s hard to choose those who belong in what I shall call the 2020 Turkey Hall of Shame. I chose lawyers whose antics make any rational person (even a lawyer) question their sanity. What were they thinking? Do any of these turkeys deserve the usual Thanksgiving holiday pardon?
How about this one? A Virginia attorney has been accused of cavorting with underage girls and engaging in sex trafficking. Normally, a defendant is “shocked, shocked” that a girl was underage. But according to an affidavit filed in the case, the attorney allegedly knew their ages.
The FBI is investigating the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, as to whether his efforts to help a real estate developer and wealthy donor constituted bribery and abuse of office. Several staffers in the Attorney General’s Office filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton; those staffers have since resigned, been fired, or gone on leave. Retaliation?
A Florida lawyer must have skipped that part of the crimes class that discussed extortion. He’s been accused of shaking down an NFL player, DeAndre Baker, for $800,000. In exchange for the payment, the attorney’s clients would recant their stories that Baker was responsible for robbery and assault. So, instead of a case against Baker, William Dean, the Florida lawyer, who represented the “witnesses,” now faces his own criminal case. Is this a delay of game penalty?
So much has been going on during the last month or so that the conduct of Jeffrey Toobin has not received much attention since his infamous Zoom call. The New Yorker has fired him and he’s on leave from CNN for an unknown period. Watch your behavior on Zoom calls; you are not alone.
Define “disability.” Doesn’t that mean that you are unable to work, either temporarily or permanently, at your job? Apparently not. One attorney here in California who was receiving disability payments from the Federal Reserve System and the Social Security Administration has been well enough to work for Stanford University, two law firms, and three companies. The first law firm paid him almost $19K a month; the second and subsequent law firm paid him $175,000 a year. Where do I sign up? The attorney’s days of multiple dipping are over since he’s been charged with wire fraud.
A 41-page ethics complaint has been lodged against an Ohio attorney who allegedly propositioned both existing and prospective clients. In one instance, he offered to represent a woman in a divorce case pro bono if she would clean his house … in the nude. All the allegations against the attorney are pre-COVID-19, but it makes me wonder if the attorney thought that housekeeping was worth the free legal representation even then and the subsequent ethics trouble.
Here’s another story about another Ohio lawyer who’s accused of running a sex trafficking ring for not just one or two years but for 15. Is there something in the water in that state?
One victim said that no one believed her. The attorney’s quid pro quo was to get the women lighter sentences for drug offenses in exchange for prostitution. If convicted, he could receive up to 50 years in prison and since he is presently 74, we all know what that means.
In Florida, the issue was which twin, Matthew or Christopher Brady, was responsible for filing an order full of typos, on a date when the court was closed, and which granted child custody to Matthew. The lawyer twin, Christopher Brady, already disbarred, faces five years in prison, having been convicted by a jury that did not believe that Matthew was the bad dude, although he claimed responsibility. Previously, Brady had broken into the law firm that fired him, using a rope from a truck to force open the firm’s front door, whereupon he and his accomplice made off with a safe and the computer server. Sounds a little like the gang who couldn’t shoot straight, and all pilfering was caught on video. Disbarment followed.
Finally, on a lighter note, if you missed the story about the judges parodying the song “I’ll Be Back” from the musical sensation Hamilton, here it is: Federal Judges Releasing Music Video About COVID Is Officially the Last Thing You Expected From 2020. It’s wonderful fun, and who knew that judges could sing? Usually it’s the defendants.
Jill Switzer has been an active member of the State Bar of California for over 40 years. She remembers practicing law in a kinder, gentler time. She’s had a diverse legal career, including stints as a deputy district attorney, a solo practice, and several senior in-house gigs. She now mediates full-time, which gives her the opportunity to see dinosaurs, millennials, and those in-between interact — it’s not always civil. You can reach her by email at email@example.com.
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