Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"At Some Point in Time, Mr. Jimenez, We Are Going to Have to Talk About It."

That's Judge Cooke to TD Bank lawyer Marco Jimenez, over sanctions motion #5 ("I'll have the #5 with egg drop!") which may involve up to 2600 alerts on Scott Rothstein's accounts that may not have been turned over to plaintiff's counsel David Mandel.


That brings up a rant -- is it just me, or is there a general erosion in our communal sense of responsibility to perform acts of civility?

I'm not referring specifically to issues such as turning over bad documents, but more generally gestures like opening doors for frail or pregnant women, or helping someone get their carry on baggage above their seat, small acts like that.

We see that often in our interaction with other lawyers, a general trickling-down of incivility that inevitably winds up affecting how you practice or deal with others.

I recently read of a civility project among elected officials:
 In 2009, author Mark DeMoss launched a Civility Project asking every sitting governor and member of Congress to sign a pledge of civility agreeing to three statements: “1. I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior; 2. I will be respectful of others, whether or not I agree with them; and 3. I will stand against incivility when I see it.” Amazingly, only three elected officials signed it—Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rep. Frank Wolf, and Rep. Sue Myrick. 
Funny thing is, I think Joe "The Weeper" Lieberman is mostly a jerk!

In other news, Wargo French has moved into the old Richman Greer space:
Atlanta-based Wargo French launched its Miami office last August, headed by former long-time Greenberg Traurig shareholder Lori Sochin. Ten associates have been hired including Simon Ferro Jr., a former Lewis Tein lawyer.

The 50-lawyer firm, which also has a Los Angeles office, targeted Miami for growth based on client demand, said managing partner Joe Wargo. Wargo French is a full-service law firm focusing on complex commercial litigation, financial services litigation, labor and employment, class action litigation, creditor's rights and bankruptcy, commercial real estate, construction, general corporate and securities law, among other specialties.
Ok, sounds like a good firm and I wish them well, but what a great name -- "Wargo French" -- that's got to be a character from an old Coen Brothers movie?


Anonymous said...

Want civility back into civil practice? Make and enforce a rule that EVERY TIME a motion for sanctions is filed SOMEONE MUST be sanctioned. In other words, you file a rule 11 motion or a motion for fees in your motion to compel and the motion fails, you are on the hook for the other side's fees for defending against the motion. Easy as that. People will get the hint in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

i think even the people who make tehmistake of hiring him learn quickly that marcos is dull and limp

Shoot The Lawyers said...

The decline of civility can be marked on a timeline.
1. 1945 The end of the British Empire
2. Lenny Bruce
3. George Carlin
4. Muhammad Ali's braggadocio
5. Nudity in mainstream movies
6. Bobby Knight throws chairs
7. Casual Fridays
8. Tatooed athletes.
Just my opinion

Anonymous said...

You are a wanker.

Anonymous said...

I agree civility is lacking in our profession. I think it is at least partially caused by the absence of mentoring that used to occur in law firms and government offices years ago. There are far too many young lawyers learning the wrong way to practice - not communicating to the other side, filing motions to compel and for sanctions at the drop of a hat, vs. being a professional and working to resolve all issues while using judicial intervention as a last resort, and little things like providing caselaw to opponents prior to a hearing instead of surprising all in court. I realize many of these problems are limited to state court hacks, but Federal Court has its own tendencies toward underhanded practice. Years ago, a lawyer was a member of a noble profession, in which respect and integrity carried the day. Now we see inexperienced lawyers throwing themselves into foreclosure or personal injury practices without a clue, in order to try to get their overhead paid for that month. I know many members of our judiciary arent pleased with some of the practices they see from young lawyers in open court, and a number of them crack down on such behavior, but at some point we need to start policing ourselves and encouraging young lawyers to get back to the practices of old.

Anonymous said...


While the sentiment is nice, some of the nastiest SOBs I've had the displeasure of litigating against have been lawyers with 20+ years of experience. Frivolous sanctions motions, ad hominem attacks, and other issues with the practice are certainly not limited to lawyers new to the practice.

Anonymous said...

Civility is overrated.
We're always told to 'fight' for our clients.
It's an adversarial system.
Go have a tea party with a 4 year old if you want civility.