Posts Tagged ‘discipline’

April 24 roundup

“I have never, ever seen an attorney more rude and disrespectful on so many levels.”

The California state bar has charged San Francisco attorney Philip Kay, famed for sexual harassment lawsuits, “with turning two cases before three San Diego judges into three-ring circuses by repeatedly impugning court orders and caustically accusing the judges of misconduct in front of jurors. Prosecutors also claim Kay entered into an illegal fee-splitting agreement in his most high-profile case — a sexual harassment suit against mega-law firm Baker & McKenzie that in 1994 resulted in a $6.9 million San Francisco jury award for his client, former legal secretary Rena Weeks. (The judgment was later reduced to $3.5 million.)” The title quote is from San Diego judge Joan Weber, and refers to Kay’s conduct in a sexual harassment suit against Ralphs Grocery. (Mike McKee, “Famed Plaintiffs Lawyer Faces Bar Charges Over Conduct”, The Recorder, Dec. 5).

Prosecutors’ union pushes measure hobbling California lawyer discipline

“In the wake of a disciplinary hearing against a top local prosecutor, the union that represents Santa Clara County prosecutors and public defenders is asking the California District Attorneys Association to sponsor a bill that would essentially curb the power of the state bar to punish all lawyers. …The proposal follows a recommendation by the state bar that Deputy District Attorney Ben Field be suspended from practicing law for three years — a punishment of unprecedented severity against a Santa Clara County prosecutor. Field is charged with committing misconduct in four criminal cases dating back to 1995, including misleading judges, defying court orders and concealing critical evidence from defense lawyers in pursuit of convictions.” The union objects (among other things) to letting disciplinary authorities look that far into the past for bad behavior. (Tracey Kaplan, “Prosecutors seek to curb powers of disciplinary board”, San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 7) (via Legal Ethics Forum).