August 11, 2016

[The following is the opinion of the editor]

I have been practicing law for 28 years across the United States at the trial and appellate levels. For the most part, opposing counsel have been professional and courteous despite differences in position in the cases and notwithstanding that we are “adversaries” in the technical sense (that is, we have opposing views as to the issues in a case). We all know we will have to see each other again, and professionalism works both ways.

Recently, however, there has been a spate of genuinely arrogant and unprofessional conduct on the part of certain attorneys which is not only resulting in unnecessary litigation, but is also costing everyone (including the court system) time and money. These chest-pounding pontificators, both male and female, think that they can (a) ignore the rules of professional conduct with impunity; (b) bully their way through the courts without regard for the local rules and without consideration of the schedules and professional commitments of their adversaries; and (c) insult and demean not only opposing counsel, but their clients as well. Unfortunately, this “Rambo-lawyering” appears to be on the rise, especially in certain parts of the United States.

There is an old adage that goes something like “bad karma comes home to roost”. It is thus only a matter of time before these arrogant types are sanctioned by the courts, and perhaps suspended from the practice of law for repeated violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. What the courts need to do is to enforce professionalism, and caution those bent on ignoring the rules of professionalism that they have been warned.

It is only through such action that the nonsense will stop, and the courts will stop wasting their precious time and money dealing with egos and on matters, like scheduling of hearings and depositions, that should be worked out between the attorneys. There are several Judges I have seen over the years who have hit attorneys with monetary fines for wasting the court’s time. We need more of the Judges to do this so that a semblance of professionalism is restored and time and money are not wasted on dealing with some arrogant attorney’s self-aggrandizing grandstanding.

Jeff Barnes, Esq.,