More Evidence Of Ethics Rot In The Legal Profession

The combination of The Great Stupid washing over the land, woke indoctrination and bullying, and the politicization of everything has perhaps taken its greatest toll on the trustworthiness of the professions. One after another has succumbed to ethics rot to an extent that one would have been unimaginable. The legal profession has been especially ravaged.

A depressing and horrifying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal told the first-hand account of how the writer was fired from her law firm, Hogan Lovells, for daring to express an opinion that was not deemed compliant with current progressive cant. She wrote in part,

After the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, global law firm Hogan Lovells organized an online conference call for female employees. As a retired equity partner still actively serving clients, I was invited to participate in what was billed as a “safe space” for women at the firm to discuss the decision. It might have been a safe space for some, but it wasn’t safe for me.

Everyone else who spoke on the call was unanimous in her anger and outrage about Dobbs. I spoke up to offer a different view. I noted that many jurists and commentators believed Roe had been wrongly decided. I said that the court was right to remand the issue to the states. I added that I thought abortion-rights advocates had brought much of the pushback against Roe on themselves by pushing for extreme policies. I referred to numerous reports of disproportionately high rates of abortion in the black community, which some have called a form of genocide. I said I thought this was tragic.

The outrage was immediate. The next speaker called me a racist and demanded that I leave the meeting. Other participants said they “lost their ability to breathe” on hearing my comments. After more of the same, I hung up.

Someone made a formal complaint to the firm. Later that day, Hogan Lovells suspended my contracts, cut off my contact with clients, removed me from email and document systems, and emailed all U.S. personnel saying that a forum participant had made “anti-Black comments” and was suspended pending an investigation. The firm also released a statement to the legal website Above the Law bemoaning the devastating impact my views had on participants in the forum—most of whom were lawyers participating in a call convened expressly for the purpose of discussing a controversial legal and political topic. Someone leaked my name to the press.

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Best of Ethics Award 2022, Best Ethics TV Show: “The Good Fight”

Ethics TV shows, once, long ago, a major segment of popular television fare, are an endangered species. When I last gave out this award six years ago, the winner was the zombie apocalypse AMC hit “The Walking Dead.” Eventually TWD itself became a zombie; if I had named a winner of the award in recent years, based on what I saw, it probably would have been old standby and previous champion “Blue Bloods” on CBS, or as I call it, “The Conflict of Interest Family.” To the great credit of Tom Selleck and the writers, it’s still a strong ethics show in its 13th season; brave too (imagine: in 2022, a pro-police drama about a devout Catholic family that meets for Sunday dinner every week!). But I’ve found—finally–a better one.

And if I had been more alert, I would have found it six years ago. The show is “The Good Fight,” a spin-off of “The Good Wife” which Ethics Alarms discussed frequently during its run. I was a bit jaded after “The Good Wife,” because, as good legal series often do if they go on too long, it began resorting to outlandish plot devices as new ideas became harder to come by. Maybe that’s why I was so late checking in on “The Good Fight.” The series picks up the story of Christine Baranski’s character in “The Good Wife,” and streams on Paramount Plus, which I only recently subscribed to. This is the show’s final season, its sixth, but I’m starting from the beginning.

If the next five season raised no ethics issues at all—an impossibility with ethics-obsessed creator-writers Robert and Michelle King in charge—“The Good Fight” would still be the smartest and most sophisticated legal ethics drama since “The Defenders.” You can watch it here.

There are a lot of legal dramas on streaming services right now: “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “The Firm” (based on the John Grisham novel and film, with Grisham producing), “Partner Track,” “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” the now-completed “Better Call Saul,” and the extremely entertaining if over-the-top drama “Goliath,” starring Bill Bob Thornton as an alcoholic, depressive, idealistic litigator. If I had to recommend one over the rest, “The Good Fight” would be my choice.

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“You’re The Dog”

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto—how I miss his blog!— famously wrote of accusations that something was a “racist dog whistle”:

“The thing we adore about these dog-whistle kerfuffles is that the people who react to the whistle always assume it’s intended for somebody else. The whole point of the metaphor is that if you can hear the whistle, you’re the dog.”

Bingo. In the last week we have seen two particularly vivid examples of this phenomenon. The most recent is peak Great Stupid: the World Health Organization announced  that it will begin referring to monkeypox as “mpox.” Why? Well, there were complaints that its name constituted “racist and stigmatizing language.”  Yes,  all it takes to make WHO jump is complaints from morons, or perhaps power-seeking activists who want to see how easily they can bend organizations to their will, just to prove they can. Continue reading

Baseball Super-Agent Scott Boras Has Another Super-Conflict And There Is No Excuse For It

Eleven years ago, Ethics Alarms began a post about baseball agents in general and Scott Boras in particular engaging in a flaming conflict of interest that harmed their player clients this way…

Baseball’s super-agent Scott Boras has his annual off-season conflict of interest problem, and as usual, neither Major League Baseball, nor the Players’ Union, nor the legal profession, not his trusting but foolish clients seem to care. Nevertheless, he is operating under circumstances that make it impossible for him to be fair to his clients.

I could have written that paragraph today. Nothing has changed. Literally nothing: as baseball general managers get ready for the 2022 winter meetings where, among other things, they huddle with player agents and sign players to mind-blowing contracts, the unethical tolerance of players agents indulging in and profiting from a classic conflict of interest continues without protest or reform.

I may be the only one who cares about the issue. I first wrote about it here, on a baseball website. I carried on my campaign to Ethics Alarms, discussing the issue in 2010, 2011 (that’s where the linked quote above comes from), 2014, 2019, and in 2019 again,  There is no publication or website that has covered the issue and thoroughly as this one, and the unethical nature of the practice is irrefutable. I might as well be shouting in outer space, where no one can hear you scream. Continue reading

Who Would Have Suspected That A Historic Appointment Like Sam Brinton Would Embarrass The Biden Administration?

I wish I could say “I told you so,” but I didn’t, exactly. The last time Ethics Alarms discussed Sam Brinton, Energy Department’s chief of nuclear waste disposal, it was in an Ethics Quiz that asked, “Is it competent and responsible for someone like Sam to hold an executive  position of trust in a Cabinet Department?” To this I added,

“Within this quiz are several other questions, like “Should an individual representing the administration, the Energy Department and the U.S. government be publicizing his kinky ways?” and “Is the judgment of an official who behaves in pubic like Sam inherently questionable?” and “Is there a Simulated Sex with Puppies Deputy Assistant Secretary Principle?”

Yes, one of Sam’s passions is simulated sex with puppies. But he’s just pretending.

I said I would reveal my answers after the commentariat weighed in, but I never did. Now comes the news that Brinton, who was hired by the administration in February, was filmed allegedly stealing a woman’s roller bag at the airport’s baggage claim area by security cameras on Sept. 16, according to a criminal complaint filed on Oct. 27. Security footage also showed Brinton taking the woman’s luggage from the baggage carousel and then removing the tags before leaving the scene at a “quick pace,” according to the complaint. Brinton initially told police that be grabbed the bag and no clothes or objects had been removed. Later he changed his story. The contents of the bag, valued at $2000, have not been found.

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Best of Ethics Award 2022, The Ethics Hero of the Year: Elon Musk

I know that it’s relatively easy to be bold, principled and even reckless when you have billions of dollars to play with, but that should not diminish the admiration due to Elon Musk for sinking 40 billion dollars into what might be a quixotic effort to bolster freedom of public discourse and information online by reforming one of the worst partisan offenders in that crucial area.

As with the mainstream media’s abandonment of democratic principles to become a progressive/Democratic Party propaganda tool, the major social media platforms have engaged in outright censorship based on viewpoint discrimination, and, like the mainstream media, have dismissed complaints about bias as “conspiracy theories.” In addition to opening up Twitter to all viewpoints, Musk has also vowed to publish Twitter records demonstrating exactly how biased its previous content vetting process was. Wonderful.

As I’m sure he predicted when he threw down this gauntlet, the attacks on him have come from all angles and directions. The Biden administration darkly warned that it would be “watching” him closely—nah, no intimidation attempt there! Glenn Greewald writes of the media’s attacks,

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It Can’t Happen Here…Can It?

I’m seriously considering using Major Clipton (who has the last word after the mind-blowing and bridge blowing finale of “The Bridge on the River Kwai”) exclusively for unethical climate change policy craziness. There is plenty—as in “an outrageous amount” already—with more to come.

The Dutch government is going to buy and close down up to 3,000 farms near environmentally sensitive areas to comply with EU nature preservation rules. These will be forced sales. How will the elimination of the livelihoods of thousands of Dutch families prevent a speculative climate-created cataclysm at some undetermined point in the future, if it would occur at all? Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Thanksgiving At Ethics Alarms: The Ethics Holiday”

Before Thanksgiving completely out of view in the rear view mirror, I’d like to recommend Steve-O-in NJ’s valuable, as always, overview of the holiday and its meaning, historically and to our American society now. This is a particularly good candidate for Comment of the Day because, as always on holidays, traffic was confined to only the most active commenters, and many may have missed it.

In response to the post, “Thanksgiving At Ethics Alarms: The Ethics Holiday,” heeeer’s Steve-O!


C.S. Lewis writes that history taught under a tyrant’s rule was “duller than the truest history you ever read, and less true than the most exciting adventure story,” while designated hero Prince Caspian is taught the truth in secret – that the tyrant is trying to cover up the past for his own benefit.

As far as I know, Joy Reid, who I think did another piece bashing the 1950s, has no background in history or much of anything else. She is simply someone who spreads anger, hatred, and unhappiness into the world in the interest of feeding the confirmation bias of her idiot followers and sowing discord and division otherwise.

Celebrations of thanks in Europe date back at least to the chanting and later singing of the Te Deum, a fairly lengthy prayer of praise offered in thanks for victory in war, recovery of leaders from illness, and just about any good event, the idea being we mortals should acknowledge whence whatever blessings we received came. The idea goes back still farther to the 100th psalm, “Praise the Lord all ye lands,” sometimes sung in the Christian tradition as “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”or other translations.

Services of thanksgiving were and still are a thing in Europe not necessarily tied to any one particular day or event. For the first century or so of this nation’s existence, that was the case here also. Washington was the first president to proclaim a one-off day of giving thanks,and other presidents followed the custom by presidential proclamation as they saw fit. In fact the ancient Te Deum was offered after the Battle of New Orleans in the Cathedral of St. Louis, the oldest continually used cathedral in North America. Continue reading

Where Did That Post Go?

I just took down the post showing how David Portnoy was unethically slimed by the New York Times. When I tried to add the link to his video (which I did not feel was necessary to make the point, but several readers asked for it), WordPress went rogue and eliminated the headline, even though it showed on my draft. (The mysterious “draft that doesn’t match what appears when the draft is published” problem is always a nightmare.) I tried everything to fix it—new version, re-editing, copying, going back to the original version. After way too long spent on a minor post, I decided to hell with it. You can check out what I regarded as res ipsa loquitur here, at Instapundit.

A few comments went away with the post; I’m sorry, except for Steve Witherspoon: his comment prompted me to do whatever I did that made WordPress turn on me. I blame him.