Attorney Misconduct, Bad Ideas, Bankruptcy, Lawyer of the Day, Legal Ethics, Rank Stupidity

Lawyer of the Day: Peter Cannon

warning internet fraud Above the Law blog.jpgJust like Justice Anthony Kennedy, Bankruptcy Judge Paul J. Kilburg (S.D. Iowa) does his own internet research. This is a lesson that Peter Cannon, Esq., learned the hard way.
From TaxProf Blog:

Mr. Peter Cannon, a West Des Moines, Iowa attorney, represented Defendant John Petit in an adversary proceeding initiated by Trustee to uncover assets of the Theodore Burghoff bankruptcy estate….

After reading both briefs filed by Mr. Cannon, and concluding that both contained an extraordinary amount of research, the Court directed Mr. Cannon to certify the author or authors of the two briefs. On December 22, 2006, Mr. Cannon certified that while he had prepared both briefs, he had “relied heavily” on an article written by others. The article upon which Mr. Cannon relied is Why Professionals Must Be Interested in “Disinterestedness” Under the Bankruptcy Code, May 2005, (“the Article”) by William H. Schrag and Mark C. Haut, two attorneys of the New York office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The Court located this article on the internet. Mr. Cannon fails to acknowledge or cite this article in either brief.

To be sure, our job involves heavy use of ctrl-C and ctrl-V. But what Mr. Cannon did — “seventeen of the nineteen total pages in the pre-hearing brief are verbatim excerpts from the Article” — went a bit far.
You can find out how much Mr. Cannon charged his client for this plagiarism, and what happened to him next, over here (TaxProf Blog) and here (Volokh Conspiracy).
Judge Orders Attorney to Take Professional Responsibility Course [TaxProf Blog]
Attorney Sanctioned for Plagiarizing Article in His Brief [Volokh Conspiracy]
In re Burghoff [U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa]

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