I have a feeling that the state bars will be a little less busy reprimanding lawyers in Staten Island for unprofessional conduct after the decision reported in $2M award yanked after lawyer’s theatrics go too far, (Staten Island Advance 4/7/06). Now that lawyers know that unprofessional remarks can cost them and their clients money, they ought to have a financial, if not ethical, interest in controlling themselves in the courtroom.
Was the judge’s action an appropriate response? Should he have penalized the client so severely for her lawyer’s actions? Or will the judge’s decision help to show clients that an overly aggressive lawyer isn’t necessarily the best choice? I’m sure that a decision like this one will make lawyers think twice about their courtroom tactics and with so much unprofessional conduct, there’s nothing wrong with that. At the same time, if judges are going to police conduct, they need to make sure that they don’t go too far so as to deter lawyers from zealously representing their clients.