Friday, August 12, 2011

Rachel Rodgers Says "Public Assumptions" May Violate Ethics Rules, My Offer Is This....

Well, we all know the rule on the internet:

If you've dug a hole, keep digging.

A brief history:

Admitted in New York and New Jersey but living in Arizona and practicing law lawyer Rachel Rodgers wrote a post decrying lawyers who use ethics as a weapon against young lawyers.

As it goes, the blogosphere turned it's attention to young Rachel and started writing their own posts about ethics.

Now, Rachel has responded.

No, don't get excited, the response is not here, it's in the safe confines of Solo Practice University.

She was asked for a response to the questions posed about her own practice, and said this:

The State Bar of Arizona has approved me to practice law just as I am, in writing.

When asked to post this "Dear Ms. Rodgers, we approve of the way you are practicing law" letter from the State Bar of Arizona, her response was this:

It is something I am considering.

Now, I remember recently there was some concern that a certain politician was not born in the United States. His eventual response, as morally reprehensible as many of us found it, including me, was to post proof.

That ended the conversation.

When encouraged to post her letter from the Bar, she decided otherwise, and said this instead:

I do not owe you or any other “non-grievance committee” attorney any explanation whatsoever. People may choose to make public assumptions about me and my practice (which, ironically, may or may not make them in violation of their state’s ethics rules), but that does not make me required to respond. Particularly when my statements are perceived as “rants” and the clear meaning of the words I write are misconstrued or downright ignored by those who choose to view them in a negative light.

She's partially right.

She owes no one (maybe except the Bar) an explanation. Her musing about whether a lawyer making "public assumptions" is a violation of my or other's state ethics rules, is, well, a good try, but flat wrong. Making public assumptions, Rachel, is not a violation of the ethics rules. If you want me to go through them with you, let me know. No charge.

In addition, here's my offer to you Rachel:

Post the letter of approval from the Arizona Bar, and "assuming" it says that they have blessed your practice as you are currently practicing, I will "publicly" apologize to you and seek your acceptance of that apology.

The clock starts now.

Non-anonymous comments welcome. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


Anonymous said...

"If you want me to go through them with you, let me know. No charge."

You given free legal advice now?

My Law License said...

Yes legalbaby, I give free legal advice to young lawyers who clearly need some. Although most of them apparently afford the advice if they have a large enough social media presence that has created the practice of their dreams.

Jordan said...

You are so silly. Internet lawyers don't have to follow the archaic ethical rules of state bar associations. They were licensed by the Internet Bar Association, and they serve clients who live in the internet. They try cases in Internet Courts and argue their motions in a chatroom before a virtual Internet judge.

Best of all, there is no such thing as malpractice, no jurisdictional limitations (you can even practice in your imagination!) and the Internet Rules of Professional Conduct let you advertise however you want.

It's very cutting edge...