As many of my readers know, I often find that the sanctions meted out by bar disciplinary committees to be either redundant or heavy-handed, such as punishing an attorney where he’s already been ordered to pay monetary sanctions by the court or sactioning an attorney for failing to apologize for an overly harsh criticism of a judge. But here’s a sanction that actually find myself in agreement with – a thirty day suspension not simply for missing a court date, but for lying about it repeatedly. See Partner Suspended for 30 Days for Lying About Missing Court Date, New York Lawyer (January 25, 2005).
Personally, one of my biggest peeves is lawyers who lie. Partly because lying about missing a deadline or not paying a bill reflects an abrogation of responsibility that simply does not befit a professional. And partly because lying sets the worst possible example for our clients. I can live with lawyers who are, occasionally rude to judges (who after all, may deserve it) or even lawyers who don’t return phone calls to clients who pester them several times a day or don’t pay bills on time. But there’s simply no excuse for lying – to the court or to a client. And that’s why we shouldn’t tolerate those lawyers who do.