Our blog has moved, and is new and improved.

You should be automatically redirected in 3 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Discovery abuse case sad all around

Attorneys are ethically required to represent their clients zealously, but sometimes they go too far. While its rare for a lawyer to cross the ethical line while advocating for a client, it does happen every now and again.

The recently reported case of the Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi attorney who falsified e-mails while representing Best Buy presents an interesting example. (See "Best Buy attorney falsified e-mails" in today's Star Tribune.)

The attorney, Timothy Block, did not personally benefit from his wrongdoing. In fact, he is likely suffer some pretty hefty personal and professional consequences as a result of it. And stress and depression may have been factors in what he did. (He is reportedly being treated for related psychological conditions now.) Block also self-reported his misconduct both to the ethics authorities and his firm. (It also bears mentioning that Robins Kaplan took speedy action by immediately putting Block on medical leave, removing his biography from its website and reporting the situation both to the court and the client. )

Nonetheless, discovery misbehavior is something that we all must take seriously. It calls into question the integrity of the discovery process -- a system that relies on the forthrightness of the lawyers and parties involves. The best lesson here is to avoid the win-at-all-costs mentality; there are some things that just aren't worth it.

It is also good to recall that there is help available for lawyers grappling with depression and other issues at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

No comments: