Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Here, I Promise....

A few of you have been contacted me wondering where I am.  I'm here.  Studying hard.  I also have to fly out to see my sister tomorrow.  She is pregnant with her 3rd child and things are not going so well.  She is supposed to be on bed-rest, but her husband is deployed overseas in a hot zone.  And she is at home with her 13 year old step daughter, her Asperger's 11 year old son, and a very, crazy busy 2 year old girl.... so, I am headed that way.  Have books to study, will travel ---

So, I will try and post a few more things in the next coming days.  Nothing has really been striking in my mind these days to post... things are quiet, study is ratcheting up...  I still miss school.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ethical Duties.......

One thing that is not said a whole lot, or even really talked about, is that there will come a time when you are going to need to report an attorney to the bar.  Each state has a Rules of Professional Conduct that must be filed.  Rules in Oregon state:

Rule 8.3 (a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has
committed a violation of the Rules of Professional
Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that
lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer
in other respects shall inform the Oregon State Bar
Client Assistance Office.

There is also 8.4 which deals with misconduct such as illegal acts, improper relations with a judge, influencing judicial opinions, using someone else to violate the rules and so on.

The first thing you need to know is this phone call is probably going to be the hardest call you will ever make.  In most cases, it is not confidential.  The lawyer that you report will know that you reported him or her.  And with that, you have created an enemy for life.  Law school does not teach you about this.  Very often all they say is that you have a duty to do so, but they do not tell you how hard it is to exercise the judgment to do so.  Human nature is such, that we don't want to get involved. 

What Would You Do, the show by John Quienes shows us that most of us won't become involved.  But with an admission to the bar, that luxury is non existent.  Being admitted to the bar is a privilege that carries some tough responsibilities.  Do what is right at all times but realize there will be a personal cost to you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Your first legal job....

I have spent several weeks talking to attorney's that I know.  All asking me how I enjoy my job.  One thing that has been a common theme is that most first jobs are horror stories.  One attorney told me that her first job involved a man that would get drunk and pinch her butt.  Another attorney told me about a boss that was verbally abusive and patronizing.  I think it is important to talk about the fact that this profession is filled with people who are alcoholics and people who are extremely depressed.  These people can bring terrible misconduct into the offices in which we work.  The horrible part is that as a new attorney, these are the people that you would be dependent on for a reference, let alone your pay check.

Take the following story from a friend as an example:  My friend found a job with a firm right away.  Things went well, and then one morning my friend's boss showed up at work drunk.  For two days, this attorney advised clients while intoxicated, raged, yelled, drove the company car while intoxicated, and made threats to their spouse so that the whole office could hear.  At the end of the day, my friend called the firm and the managing partners in.  What followed was interesting.  Two more incidents followed.  One where the boss made threats and accusations against my friend for disloyalty for going to the managing partner -- the boss actually made threats to my friend to ruin his/her career.  This friend was not allowed to leave his/her office until a weird loyalty pledge was affirmed to the boss.  The second incident the boss confronted my friend and accused him/her of spying and reporting all activities to the managing partner, followed by some threats.

Another friend worked for an alcoholic attorney as well and was placed in the inalienable position of having to turn his/her boss into the bar when the attorney showed up at a hearing highly intoxicated.  What baffled my friend the most is that no other attorney, nor the judge found the behavior of the drunk attorney as strange or weird.  Therefore it feel upon my friends shoulders to do the right thing and call the bar.  Actually, he/she had an affirmative duty to report such behavior.  As you can imagine, this attorney lost his/her job.  No reference, no thank you.

Another friend found out this the boss had a criminal conviction for spousal abuse.  Not exactly morally fit, correct?

My point is that you are likely going to find yourself in a pickle.  The odds are FOR this, not against it.  There are a few things you can do when researching a firm...... You can call the bar and see if there have been complaints or discipline.  You can run the name through the local courthouse's public records.  If you see a conviction for battery, or DUI -- that's your first clue.  Ask around.  Anyone you know in the profession, asked pointed questions like, "Would you work for this person?"  That may not always help you as professionals have become adept at hiding issues.

This may seem overwhelming to you.  I share it because it is important to realize this is a reality and you need to guard against it.  These are extreme situations -- but they exist.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Do right, even if it bites you in the end........

There is a personal story that I will tell you all someday....... right now it is too fresh, to new, and I feel too betrayed to be able to go into right now.  But a few months ago, I needed to make a decision that could effect my professional life.  I chose to do the RIGHT thing.  The thing with integrity, the thing that would allow me to sleep at night-- that is the thing that I had to do.  While I was assured I would be taken care of, not to worry, that I would have no concerns... the truth is that I was left twisting in the wind.

Lesson learned:  Trust no one.  But always do what you know, in your core being, is right.  It may hurt sometimes, you may lose, but the truth is that your integrity as a person will continue to shine through.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year....

Some people make New Year's Resolutions...  I don't anymore simply because I have never been very good about keeping them.  But I like the thought of them because when you break it down, these resolutions are made so that I can become a better person.  Mine usually had something to do with losing weight.

This year I think I want to concentrate on not myself so much on superficial parts.  This year I would like to help someone achieve something they dreamed of, give to others in unseen ways, be seen as an encouragement to those around me, remember to be grateful even when everything is falling down around me, and continue to lend a hand to all single parents I know.

Here's hoping each of us have a Happy, Safe, and Prosperous New Years.