Happy New Year, Everybody!
1. A late entry in the “Most Unethical Lawyer of 2020” competition! McGinnis E. Hatfield was stripped of his license to practice law by the West Virginia Supreme Court. What did he do? Well, this section of a transcript of his conversation with a female client explains things pretty well:
Female: “I thought like when we first started out, I was just going to pay you. I didn’t know that you wanted sex out of the whole thing.”
Hatfield: “Well, I’d have to charge you like $1,500 bucks. You don’t have $1,500, do you?”
Hatfield “So come on out here. Just come. What time do you want to come?… [I]t’s just not going to work unless you do what I say.”
Female: “What do you want me to do?”
Hatfield: “… “Well, I want you to let me eat your pussy, and then I want you to let – I want you to suck my dick, and then, you know, I just have to – I’m as straightforward as I can be. And if you don’t want to do that, then fine. I don’t have any- I like you. And if you don’t want to do that, then we’ll just have to call it off.”
Female: “Is that not – all right. That’s fine. Whatever.”
Hatfield: “Is that okay?”
Female: “I mean no, not really because I’m not a whore.”
Hatfield: ” … And like I said, if you won’t want to do that, then that’s fine by me. I wish you luck. And if you don’t want to do that, then I’m not going to try to represent you. So that’s a benefit for you. And I’ll give you some money, too[.]”… You know, I’m shooting straight with you. I told you from the beginning that sex was important to me. I want some now. Nobody’s tried to trick you. And it would be safe, too. But anyway, if you don’t want to do it, that’s fine by me, honey, but you’ll have to get somebody to help you with your divorce, too.”
Female: “Okay, That’s fine.
Of course, it’s not fine. Lawyers are prohibited from having sex with clients in most jurisdictions. Lawyers cannot encourage individuals, including clients, to commit a crime. Mr. Hatfield compounded his problems when he flunked the easiest part of a disciplinary inquiry, telling the judge who asked Hatfield whether in retrospect, he found his behavior inappropriate or unethical,
“I think my conduct in this whole situation is human. And that’s the only defense I’m offering. Lord knows, we all need that. So that’s as far as I’ll go with that.”
The judge tried again, asking, “Are you remorseful?” Hatfield replied, “No. I have no remorse. I feel like I’ve been victimized.”
What an idiot.
It put me in mind of the Steven Wright line, “How did the fool and his money get together in the first place?”