Dishonesty

“Best amicus brief ever” might not be saying much. Parakeets are pretty indifferent to the liners of their cages.

Every now and then, though, we come across amicus briefs that are a little unusual or interesting. Like one with somewhat surprising or high-profile signatories — say, NFL players, or leading Republicans in favor of gay marriage. Or one that takes the form of a cartoon. Or one that’s just bats**t insane.

Today we bring you an amicus brief that will make you laugh out loud — which shouldn’t be surprising, given that it’s being submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a leading humorist….

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Not what the image of lawyers that the California Supreme Court wants to support.

A former journalist turned law school graduate went to the state of California and asked to be admitted to the practice of law.

California said no.

The problem was his practice of “making up stories” for a few years while working at The New Republic.

A well-documented history of lying is not a great testament to the moral fitness of a prospective lawyer, but does this particular transgression really justify denying Stephen Glass’s application?

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Usually, law school finals do not produce great moral dilemmas. Most of them are open book, so you are allowed to use any information you can get your hands on. And since the whole thing is graded on a curve, “cheating” in the sense of copying from somebody else doesn’t really get you anywhere. You can use any means, fair or unfair, to get ahead.

But today we have an interesting question coming out of final exams at a top law school. A student observed another student breaking the rules of the exam. The other student was clearly breaking the letter of the law of the exam administration. But was the other student really cheating?

Our tipster didn’t report the offense, and I think that was the right call. But what would you have done?

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Another busted barrister: Archie Leach (John Cleese).

People can argue about whether or not Indians — of the South Asian variety, not the Native American variety — are or are not “Caucasian.” I take no position on that issue, having been burned before (see the comments to this post).

I will say this, though: in my opinion, South Asians share in common with East Asians the ability to pass for much younger than they really are. (It’s generally a blessing, although not always; in a discussion at the recent Penn APALSA conference, some panelists talked about how looking young can complicate dealing with clients and opposing counsel.)

So how much younger can South Asians claim to be? One India-born lawyer, who graduated from a top 14 law school, finds herself in litigation for allegedly lying about her age — amongst many, many other things.

And the whole thing smells worse than Ghazipur landfill….

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The average person is relatively honest. Why do we create rules that force otherwise honest people to lie?

We do this to many people. Think first about physicians.

For some reason, New Mom and Baby should spend one extra night at the hospital. Mom and Baby are doing fine, but the doctor sees a reason for one more night of rest. What does Doc do?

The insurance company won’t pay for, and Mom can’t afford, an extra night at the hospital, so Doc lies: He falsely notes that Baby is “jaundiced,” which justifies the necessary night at the hospital. The rules have turned Doc into a liar.

I’m sure that’s just the start of what the insurance bureaucracy does to turn honest physicians into routine liars. But I’m thinking today of rules that turn perfectly honest lawyers into liars. Once you start thinking about it, you’ll come up with endless examples . . .

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For a litigator, DLA Piper partner Laura L. Flippin didn’t do herself any favors on the stand.

As we mentioned in Non-Sequiturs last night, Judge Colleen K. Killilea of Virginia’s 9th Judicial District accused Flippin — an ATL fan favorite, and former lawyer of the month — of lying under oath. Judge Killilea then found Flippin guilty of public intoxication.

We first wrote about Laura Flippin back in October, when she was arrested for public intoxication after an event for her undergraduate alma mater, William and Mary. Police reports claimed that Flippin blew a .253 BAC and needed help standing up.

But when she was on the stand, here’s what she told the judge about how much she had to drink….

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Above the Law readers are a surprising bunch. After three weeks of voting, the University of Michigan Law School has emerged as the most honest law school in all the land.

Michigan. Can you believe it? I guess all the “Wolverine Scholars” shadiness didn’t stick.

Let’s check out the bracket and the final vote total for Michigan’s victory…

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We are at the final showdown for our March Madness bracket, and all the private school sissy-boys have been kicked to the curb. Apparently, you can’t buy your way into a moral or ethical principle. Only the state can inculcate you into virtue.

For the first time, I think ever or at least as long as I’ve been here, in an ATL contest of law schools, the final battle is between two state schools. And it happens in our contest about honesty and ethics. I guess there’s a lot of truth that comes out after a long round of flip-cup….

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We’re at the final four.

In real life, I am in a pitched battle for second place in my NCAA tournament poll with these guys. I can’t win because the guy in first has the exact same bracket as I do from here on out. But I can still finish second, so long as one of my “friends” who is actually a floppy-headed Kansas fan doesn’t get his JayHicks into the finals.

In more law related news, our Most Honest Law School bracket is chugging along.

But there were some upsets in round 2….

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The real March Madness has been batsh*t crazy. Lehigh? Norfolk State? As sometimes ATL contributor Marc Edelman pointed out, schools that have top law schools took a beating with their basketball teams. Harvard, Michigan, UVA, Duke, Georgetown, and Texas were all in the tournament, and now they’re all sitting at home.

But in the Above the Law bracket, top schools survive and thrive. We’re asking readers to pick the most honest law school. We’re asking readers to tell us which law school graduates are the most honorable and ethical in their private practice.

So far, the readers are telling us they’re unable to understand anything beyond what U.S. News tells us….

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