Legal Ethics

An ethics scandal is one thing. A sex scandal is another. The combination is amazing. That’s what happened when a lawyer was accused of billing a client $900 for a number of sexual encounters after starting up an affair with her. A guy’s gotta get paid.

This was the story of Thomas Lowe, a Minnesota attorney who got his Arnie Becker on by hooking up with a woman he was representing in a divorce and billing her, resulting in his indefinite suspension.

All this went down last year, but now — out of nowhere — we have a response from Thomas Lowe….

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Judge Wade H. McCree

That’s ridiculous. I don’t think the voters of Wayne County are going to put him back in office after what he did.

– FOX2 legal analyst Charlie Langton, commenting on Judge Wade McCree’s application for re-election to his judicial post. Over the past two years, McCree made headlines for sending a shirtless selfie to a bailiff and having an affair with a litigant while presiding over her case. He was suspended without pay last year.

* Missouri lawyer is hauled into a disciplinary hearing about his practice of showing a picture of a naked woman to a female client. He says it wasn’t about sex and he was just showing her the kinds of pictures that come up in a divorce proceeding. That sounds like a fine explanation. I mean, every divorce involves autographed photos of strippers. He also commingled funds. That’s less easy to explain. [Inside the Ozarks]

* Hey look! They brought back Debtors’ Prison. The prison-industrial complex has gotta get paid somehow. [Bergen Dispatch]

* Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now looking into David Samson, the chair of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a Christie appointee. If government agencies aren’t for petty revenge and plunder, then what are they for? [Talking Points Memo]

* Insurance company cronies threaten that insurance company may have to get out of the business because of all the lawyers winning cases making the insurance company actually pay their contractual obligations. Don’t they understand the purpose of litigation is just to collect premiums? [Legal Newsline Legal Journal]

* How ACLU attorney Ben Wizner became Snowden’s lawyer. [Forbes]

* “One of the reasons I could never imagine being a lawyer is because you have to account for your time in 15-minute increments.” Thankfully she was corrected and told that lawyers are actually more irritatingly measured in 6-minute increments. [Dear Prudence / Slate]

* With all the talk of patent law reform coming from the President, this is an excellent time to look back at eight dumb patents. [Mashable]

* Spring break is here for many students, and I know what they’re all thinking: what are the tax implications? [TaxProf Blog]

* Man files suit because his adult son is addicted to video games. Well, with games like South Park: Stick of Truth coming out, who can blame him? [IT-Lex]

* Former Sandusky attorney under investigation for misappropriation of client funds. At least he’s only alleged to have showered himself with money. [The Patriot-News]

* Here’s a lesson in the value of knowing the law: DUI charges against a Chicago judge dismissed. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say, “the value of knowing the law needed to beat the rap after you’ve been arrested for totally forgetting the law.”[Checkpoints]

* Business development needs to be everyone’s responsibility in a law firm. Well, at the very least, it needs to be somebody’s responsibility. [The RelSci Web]

* Harvard Law professor seeks help writing regulations for the legalization of marijuana in Jamaica. Wait? It’s illegal in Jamaica? [HLS Administrative Updates]

Judge Mike Maggio was the now-infamous Geauxjudge on the Tiger Droppings board. Just like we all thought.

The rapidly unfolding scandal broke Monday and confirmation came Wednesday night, when Maggio admitted to his Geauxjudge alter ego and withdrew from the impending Court of Appeals race. Still unclear is whether the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission will demand that he immediately step down from his current judgeship, which Judge Maggio will otherwise hold for the rest of the year.

The latest statement from Judge Maggio is reproduced below. It’s light on the racism, sexism, homophobia, and obvious breaches of judicial ethics, but it still captures the tone-deaf attitude of entitlement. At least we know Geauxjudge is still in there somewhere….

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* Upskirt photos not illegal in Massachusetts. The spirit of Kennedy lives on! [Mass Live]

* The investigation continues into whether Judge Mike Maggio, who might be the infamous Geauxjudge, suffers from a bad case of the Internet Crazies — but in the meantime, his campaign for the Court of Appeals took a hit. [Arkansas Times]

* Speaking of judicial ethics, Judge Kimberly Brown has been removed from the bench in Indiana. She’s only the third judge ever to be permanently removed from the job. [Indy Star]

* Wachtell Lipton partner Ricky Mason and his wife, Hoboken mayoral candidate Beth Mason, have been charged with several election-law violations. Uh-oh. [PolitickerNJ]

* Which state just ruled that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in texting… even if you’re texting about a heroin deal? [IT-Lex]

* Dewey love the judge’s name in the Barclays suit over the dead firm’s debts? Yes. Because “Popplewell” is an awesome name. [The Lawyer]

* The data are in, and the top college grads have passed an all-important math test: they figured out law school is a bad deal. [Associate's Mind]

* Yet another Florida law school dean has stepped down. This is what happens when you take a job in a state full of retired people. [Daily Business Review]

* Obamacare has been credited — and bashed — for a lot, but are we underselling its role in reducing prison populations? [Sentencing Law and Policy]

The psychological term for it is The Online Disinhibition Effect, a condition brought on by the interlocking effects of dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority. This is the condition that leads people otherwise aware of proper social and professional behavior to go off the rails and say things they would know not to broadcast publicly if the world could easily identify them.

That’s what happened to a self-identified judge who routinely posted under a pseudonym on a popular college sports board.

And now it looks like we’ve cracked the code and figured out who this judge is, and if we’re right, he’s a rising star. Or he was a rising star, before this….

(It turns out that we’re right. Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.)

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* We’re getting closer to being able to unlock our phones legally. Soon you can accidentally brick an iPhone without fear of reprisal. [The Guardian]

* The Wall Street Journal thinks law student résumés are nearly identical (?) and recommends cultivating “quirky interests” like serving as a college mascot. Because national law firms just feel safer with Furries on staff. [The Legal Watchdog]

* A judge who already faces overlapping ethics proceedings is about to add a couple more to his plate. This time the allegations include sleeping with a law student, not disclosing when she appeared before him, and “misappropriating” marijuana evidence. He doesn’t seem to get that the whole “What happens in Vegas” thing only works if you’re not living there. [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* Someone tries to fight Larry Lessig on copyright. They lose. [IT-Lex]

* An applicant withdraws his application to a law school because they do not allow gay or lesbian wedding ceremonies on campus. While that’s a noble decision, did he really think a Catholic school was going to be having gay and lesbian weddings? [The Ivy Coach]

* Professors Chris Sprigman and Barry Friedman employed a cool tool called ReplyAll to have a public discussion about the NSA. [Just Security]

* Redeployment (affiliate link) is a new collection of stories by Phil Klay focusing on the transition of Iraq veterans to stateside living. One story focuses on a Marine going to law school. Apparently he wanted to trade one brand of PTSD for another. [New York Times]

* Wow, it looks like San Diego has a real problem policing its police. [Voice of San Diego]

* If you’re in the Boston area next week, check out Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services, a cool symposium on March 6. [Harvard Law]

* If you want male-strippers dressed as cops to come by the house, don’t call 911. [Legal Juice]

* These look like some fun Biglaw recruiting events over in England. Too bad if you’re not an Oxford or Cambridge student… [Legal Cheek]

* For the comic-loving lawyers out there, Marvel has kicked off a new run of the preeminent lawyer to the superheroes, She-Hulk. [Law and the Multiverse]

* How should we judge our prisons? Low incidence of rape and torture would be a good start. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* You can’t use your failing company’s Facebook account to poach opportunities for your new company. [IT-Lex]

* More coverage of the tensions at UCLA Law School. [Huffington Post]

* University ordered to pay $2.5 million to former lawyer it fired for not rubber-stamping some questionable dealings. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Andi from this season’s The Bachelor has disappeared from the murder trial she was running in Atlanta to take over as next season’s Bachelorette. Maybe she won’t dumb herself down as much when she’s the star of the show. Video of her in court after the jump… [TMZ]

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Already hailing a cab.

* Congratulations to A&L Goodbody partner Cian McCourt on becoming a father after his wife gave birth on the sidewalk at 68th Street and 3rd Avenue. [BBC News]

* A class action alleging that hotel price gouging led to a broken tooth. What? [Lowering the Bar]

* Remember the “you’re not good enough” rejection letter? Well, now you can express your feelings about it with this poll. [Althouse]

* A comprehensive survey to the access to justice available to the average America. Spoiler alert: Not a lot. [National Center for Access to Justice]

* Florida-sized corruption allegations. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Is law school a Veblen good? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Dan Patrick (the Texas Republican, not the famous anchor) told all his Twitter followers the true definition of marriage: “ONE MAN & ONE MAN.” Sorry, lesbians. [Slate]

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