Attorney Larry Klayman was familiar presence during the Clinton administration. The founder of Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch and conservative gadfly helped bring dozens of cases against Bill Clinton, the White House, and various staff members and agencies, uncovered some damning documents in FOIA requests, filed government ethics complaints, and continued to champion conservative causes after he left Judicial Watch in other hands. He represented former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and state’s rights activist rancher Cliven Bundy, among other clients. Now the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility Ad Hoc Hearing Committee has handed down a 183-page report finding that Klayman breached the D.C. professional ethics rules, recommending that he be suspended from the practice of law for 33 months, and have he prove his rehabilitation and fitness to gain reinstatement.
According to the report, Klayman represented Elham Sataki, whom he helped file a 2010 sexual harassment suit against her employer, Voice of America. Klayman persuaded Sataki to move to Los Angeles and offered to pay her housing and living expenses, telling Sataki she could later reimburse him. She took him up on the offer, but when Sataki rejected Klayman’s overtures for a romantic relationship, the findings state, the lawyer raised his fee demands to continue representing her sexual harassment claim. As a result, the report concludes, Sataki did not pursue her case. Continue reading
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 afraid..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)
“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.”
2013 Conflicts of Interest of the Year Continue reading
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…
- 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!
"Now about my fee...."
Texas lawyers have voted down a proposed ethics rule that specifically condemned attorneys having intimate relations with their clients. Naturally, the media will represent the decision as the predictable reaction of a bunch of high-rolling, fun-loving Texas legal horn-dogs to people trying to spoil the perks of their job; even the legal media has settled on a misleading headline: “Texas lawyers reject ban on sex with clients.” But Texas lawyers don’t think that sex with clients is ethical, or want it to be ethical. Like the attorneys in many other states, they just think having a rule on this topic is bad idea. And they are right. Continue reading