Rudeness

Judge Sam Sparks: Probably not smiling now.

The benchslapper has become the benchslapped. Judge Sam Sparks, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, just got smacked around by a higher authority: Chief Judge Edith Jones, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Last month, Judge Sparks issued a sharply worded order in which he compared the counsel appearing before him to squabbling schoolchildren — and invited them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as “how to telephone and communicate with a lawyer” and “how to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates.” In the end, Judge Sparks ended up canceling the party, after the publicly shamed lawyers worked out their issues — but not before his infamous order received national attention within the legal community.

Many observers were amused by Judge Sparks’s order — which was not the first time His Honor has gotten saucy with lawyers in recent weeks (or in his judicial career, for that matter). But a minority felt that the order was over the top and gratuitously nasty.

Among the unamused: Edith Jones, who oversees the federal courts of Texas in her capacity as Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit. What did she have to say to Sam Sparks?

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Name-calling has been a part of our lives since roughly the second grade. “I’m rubber, and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” How many of you remember employing this clever retort as a kid? It didn’t do much, but at least you could later be smug about the fact that the kid who tried to insult you was actually the stinky-stink-face, not you.

So, you’d figure that when people grow up, go to law school, and get real jobs as attorneys, then the name-calling would stop. But you’d be oh so wrong. With the advent of modern technology, name-calling is ten times easier than it was before. Lawyers can now insult colleagues in the blink of an eye and with the click of a button, making for great email scandals.

But has name-calling become a part of law firm culture? One wrongful-termination suit claims that it has….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I’m Rubber and You’re Glue: Is Name-Calling a Part of Law Firm Culture?”

Obviously some people in my office … all of them … don’t like me.

– County Attorney Bill Sutter, of York, Nebraska, drawing a conclusion about his relationship with his co-workers. His co-workers have alleged that Sutter was disrespectful to women, made crude comments about his scrotum and about rape, and goofed around in the office. Sutter has refused to resign, and county officials are now attempting to initiate his recall.

Our last post on law-related vanity license plates was about three weeks ago. We’re always looking for more photos, so if you’re a fan of the Law License Plates series, please send some in via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Today, we are writing about lawyers who have announced their dating qualifications on their license plates. Maybe these folks are fans of our Courtship Connection series, but they’re too afraid to go on blind dates. Let’s help these people out, because they seem to be single and looking in California and New York.

Let’s check out our Dating Game contestants….

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Peggy Ableman

Earlier this week, we reported on the latest benchslap from Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.). In his order, Judge Sparks invited attorneys to a “kindergarten party,” to address what he perceived as childish behavior.

Judge Sparks eventually called off the party. That makes sense, since he had already achieved his goal of publicly shaming the attorneys appearing before him.

Other judges have apparently taken notice. Now comes Judge Peggy Ableman of Delaware. She has called for attorneys appearing before her to attend “a ‘special’ emergency refresher course in first year ethics and civility.”

UPDATE (5:20 PM): Darn it. Delaware Superior Court Presiding Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. has taken over the case and canceled the “refresher course,” as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

What’s really going to make the allegedly childlike attorneys squeal is that Judge Ableman scheduled her remedial class for the middle of Labor Day weekend….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge-Ordered Remedial Civility Classes = The New Killing It”

And no, we’re not talking about the guy who sits in the front row of Federal Jurisdiction and always has his hand in the air.

We’re speaking more literally — about a man with his hand not up in the air, but down in his pants….

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Judge Sam Sparks

You do not want to mess with Judge Sam Sparks, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. We recently wrote about Judge Sparks accusing a lawyer appearing before him of incompetence — in a harshly worded order that pulled no punches.

Judge Sparks has been doling out stinging benchslaps for years, and he’s gotten pretty good at it. In particular, His Honor has little patience for discovery disputes. In 2007, for example, he smacked down some lawyers squabbling over a deposition — in rhymed couplets, no less.

Last week, Judge Sparks lit more lawyers on fire….

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Our last post on law-related vanity license plates was about two weeks ago. We’re always looking for more photos, so if you’re a fan of the Law License Plates series, please send some in via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Today, we are writing about legal professionals who are so proud of what they do that they’ve slapped their titles on their license plates. If this isn’t an invitation to get rear-ended, then I don’t know what is. These submissions come to us from New York, Ohio, and Tennessee, proving that stupid lawyer tricks know no bounds across state lines.

Let’s take a look at what these legal eagles are advertising on their license plates, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law License Plates: Say It Loud, We’re Lawyers and We’re Proud”

Our last post on law-related vanity license plates was on Tuesday. We received so many great photos that we couldn’t resist writing another one this week. We are always looking for more, so if you’re a fan of the Law License Plates series, please send in your photos via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

So, on Tuesday, we wrote about Massholes. Today, we’re writing about a different kind of a-hole: criminal and DUI defense attorneys. These submissions came to us from Texas and Ohio. While these states are far apart, they seem to have one thing in common. Defense attorneys in both states are making straight cash, homey.

After looking at these plates (and the cars they’re attached to), you may want to consider changing your practice group….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law License Plates: Defenders Unite”

It’s been almost a month since our last post on law-related vanity license plates. We got a great response to our call for photos, but we could always use some more. So, if you’re a fan of the Law License Plates series, please send in your photos via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Both of these submissions came to us from my current home state: Massachusetts. In case you didn’t know, this will be my fifth year in the good old Commonwealth, land of some of the worst drivers in the world. And after seeing these vanity license plates, I am even more excited to leave.

Looking at these plates was a bit like looking into a crystal ball. Are you ready to see your future?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law License Plates: Back to the Future”

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