Discussion Materials - Discipline


Problem 1:  Assume you are a potential client. You are seeking a dissolution of marriage (divorce) in Missouri.  Find two possible lawyers who might be able to take your case.  What can you find out about whether any of these lawyers have been the subject of lawyer discipline? Be prepared to report to the class on what you were and were not able to find out. Row 7


Problem 2:  Assume you were represented by an attorney licensed to practice in Missouri and have what you believe to be a valid complaint against the lawyer, who you think violated the rules of professional conduct.  How do you go about filing a complaint against the lawyer?  How did you find out?  Row 6


Multiple Choice Discussion Problems


1) Larry is admitted to the Bar in Jurisdiction A and engages in occasional law practice there.  He spends much of his time in Jurisdiction B, where he is involved personally in buying and selling real estate and financial products.  Larry was charged in Jurisdiction B with the criminal offense of making false statements in one of his financial offerings.  He was acquitted when key evidence was excluded from trial for technical reasons.  One of the victims in the case made a complaint about his conduct to the Bar in Jurisdiction A.


Is Larry subject to discipline in Jurisdiction A?


a)                  Yes, if his conduct involved dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation


b)                  Yes, but only if Jurisdiction B successfully disciplines him first


c)                  No, because the acquittal prevents a finding that he committed a criminal act involving moral turpitude


d)                  No, because the conduct that is the basis for discipline did not occur in Jurisdiction A


2)  Lawyer, a partner in a large law firm, was working late one evening when she walked past the office of one of the associates in her firm.  Alex, the associate, works in a different department and Lawyer has no supervisory authority for his work.  She saw that Alex was on the phone and she heard him telling someone to “fudge the records,” if necessary, because “we’re not going to pay that much in taxes.”  She then heard him say, “Yes, I do mean you should backdate those invoices, since there’s no other way to avoid the tax liability.  I know it’s illegal, but we have no choice.”


Must Lawyer report Associate to the appropriate professional authority?


a)                  Yes, as long as Lawyer has a reasonable belief Associate has committed a violation of the rules


b)                  Yes, but only if reporting will not require disclosure of information relating to the representation of a client


c)                  No, because Lawyer does not have supervisory authority over Associate


d)                  No, if the tax matter is a personal matter for Associate and not related to the representation of a client