The Fifth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2013 (Part Two of Three)


The Ethics Alarms review of a truly disheartening year in ethics continues with fallen heroes, ficks, fools and follies with Part Two of the 2013 Worst of Ethics awards….and there’s one last section to come. Be very afraid:

Fallen Hero of the Year

Edward Snowden, whose claim to civil disobedience was marred by his unwillingness to accept the consequences of his actions, whose pose as a whistle-blower was ruined by the disclosure that he took his job with the intention of exposing national secrets, and whose status as a freedom-defending patriot lies in ruins as he seeks harbor with not only America’s enemy, but a human rights-crushing enemy at that. The NSA’s over-reach and mismanagement is a scandal, but Snowden proved that he is no hero.

Unmitigated Gall of  The Year

Minnesota divorce lawyer Thomas P. Lowes not only violated the bar’s ethics rules by having sex with his female  client…he also billed her his hourly fee for the time they spent having sex , a breach of the legal profession’s rule against “unreasonable fees.” Yes, he was suspended. But for not long enough…

Jumbo Of The Year

(Awarded To The Most Futile And Obvious Lie)

Jumbo film

“Now, if you had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

—–President Obama

2013 Conflicts of Interest of the Year Continue reading

Now THAT’S An Unethical Lawyer!

Even Arnie didn't try THIS...

Even Arnie didn’t try THIS…

It’s bad enough that Minnesota lawyer Thomas P. Lowes had sex with his divorce client. That’s explicitly forbidden since Minnesota adopted ABA Model Rule 1.8 k, what “L.A. Law” fans fondly refer to as “the Arnie Becker Rule.” Not professional, exploits the relationship, interferes with independent judgment, a conflict of interest, you know, all that stuff.

But Lowes went a step further, and set some kind of a new record for…

  • gall,
  • unreasonable billing practices (ABA Rule 1.5)
  • inflated self image, or
  • always working on the case, no matter what, OR
  • …mixing legal work with prostitution.

…by charging his client/lover/sex toy his hourly fee for the time they spent having sex!

Continue reading