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#1
Old 05-17-2018, 05:00 PM
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Can You Be Disbarred For Being A Dick?

I'm not going to name names, mainly because I'm still not sure where I stand on the notion of publicly shaming someone on the internet. Nevertheless, there are stories going around of a guy at some New York store going ballistic and threatening to call Immigration on two workers speaking Spanish to each other. Someone did some digging and found that he's an attorney, and that person showed screenshots of their tweets to the New York Bar Association.

Will the Bar give a damn about this? Is there something in the lawyers' code of ethics that prohibits being a racist asshole in public, and/or for bringing shame to the profession?
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#2
Old 05-17-2018, 05:08 PM
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No answer, but its probably notable just how 'extreme' the public's reaction has gone. Here's a link w/ video-links within.
#3
Old 05-17-2018, 05:33 PM
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Well, got an answer this time but it doesn't really apply to OP.

Turns out he is NOT a member of the New York bar, so can't disbar, per se. Here's another link to some of his past antics. What a scumbag, imho.

From the link:
Quote:
Mr. Schlossberg is not a member of the New York State Bar Association, managing director Dan Weiller told NewsOne.
#4
Old 05-17-2018, 05:45 PM
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The New York State Bar Association is not the same thing as the New York bar. There does appear to be an Aaron Morris Schlossberg currently registered as an attorney in NY.
#5
Old 05-17-2018, 06:01 PM
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The model rules of Professional conduct has the following 8.4(g) (The NY version seems to be more about discriminating during the practice of law or hiring...)

Maintaining The Integrity Of The Profession
Rule 8.4 Misconduct

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
...
(g) engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law. This paragraph does not limit the ability of a lawyer to accept, decline or withdraw from a representation in accordance with Rule 1.16. This paragraph does not preclude legitimate advice or advocacy consistent with these Rules.
#6
Old 05-17-2018, 08:12 PM
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True, but that's all qualified by "... in conduct related to the practice of law."

This guy's behaviour seems to have been quâ customer, not quâ lawyer.
#7
Old 05-17-2018, 08:28 PM
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American Lawyer's expert agrees that disbarring is unlikely, though a confidential admonishment could occur:
Whether S-- will actually face discipline, however, is unclear, according to Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert and professor at New York University School of Law. While it is true that lawyers can be disciplined for actions they take outside of court, Gillers said he could not recall any similar incidents that led to discipline. He also said that in most cases, the type of discipline that could apply here would most likely remain private.

Ive not heard of discipline for racist rants outside law practice and unaccompanied by violence, Gillers said. But most discipline is private so the public would not know.

Such discipline could have taken place in private, he said.

Whether the lawyer is disciplined will depend on whether he has prior discipline and his defense (the meds made me do it, for example). If the conduct leads to a conviction, even a minor one, discipline will be much more likely.
https://law.com/americanlawyer/2...20180417212140

The above paywall can be breached via google. An easier link with similar content is here: https://nbcnews.com/news/us-news...racist-n875006
#8
Old 05-17-2018, 09:05 PM
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Really? Discipline is private?

In Canadian jurisdictions, all discipline is public and set out on a web-page.
#9
Old 05-17-2018, 09:27 PM
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I thought I heard that the Appellate Division put all attorney disciplinary records on the interwebs now. Unless there's another form of discipline in NY that falls outside that system?
#10
Old 05-17-2018, 09:44 PM
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IANAL, but this is from the complaints page of the New York State Unified Court System. Emphasis added:
The committee may take appropriate action by sending a confidential letter to the lawyer. A Letter of Advisement is sent when the committee is of the opinion that the attorney acted in a manner which, while not constituting clear professional misconduct, involved behavior requiring comment. An Admonition is issued in those cases in which the committee finds that the lawyer committed clear professional misconduct that was not sufficiently serious to warrant the commencement of a formal disciplinary proceeding.
https://nycourts.gov/courts/ad2/...taLawyer.shtml

So I'm guessing that an admonishment could indeed remain private between the lawyer and the Attorney Grievance Committee.
#11
Old 05-18-2018, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Will the Bar give a damn about this? Is there something in the lawyers' code of ethics that prohibits being a racist asshole in public, and/or for bringing shame to the profession?
They shouldn't, imo. His antics have nothing to do with his profession and apparently people in his past have come forward to point out that he's always been a dick, which isn't a crime or even unethical.

What I really dislike is threat of "bullying by proxy" that's all the rage now, where someone calls the police (or in this case Immigration) to make trouble for a minority like the recent Yale or Starbucks incidents.
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Last edited by epbrown01; 05-18-2018 at 06:59 AM.
#12
Old 05-18-2018, 07:37 AM
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The guy has been a raging racist asshole for a long time, but it does no one any good to overreact to this sort of thing. Public exposure and mockery is warranted for someone throwing a public bigoted rant like this. Driving him out of his job and harassing him at his home is both excessive and an unpleasant precedent.
#13
Old 05-18-2018, 09:03 AM
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At the very least if he did follow up and call the authorities and the reasons were groundless, there's some form of public nuisance charge for making a false report. If your only grounds for calling immigration is "they spoke Spanish!" then that would be wasting everyone's time, which is what constitutes a nuisance call. If the motivation were more for revenge than a real concern and reasonable grounds to believe they were illegals, then that's a malicious false report.

Note too the assumption - anyone who speaks Spanish is illegal.
#14
Old 05-18-2018, 10:45 AM
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For the record, note that in New York City Puerto Ricans are the largest component of Hispanics at 33% of the Hispanic population. The Bronx is majority-Hispanic (54% in the 2010 census).

Not only are this guy's comments bigoted, they're ignorant of the city where he lives.
#15
Old 05-18-2018, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Note too the assumption - anyone who speaks Spanish is illegal.
Yeah, during the video when he threatens to call ICE you can hear several of the Spanish speakers laughing at his assumption.
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#16
Old 05-18-2018, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by pdhenry View Post
For the record, note that in New York City Puerto Ricans are the largest component of Hispanics at 33% of the Hispanic population. The Bronx is majority-Hispanic (54% in the 2010 census).

Not only are this guy's comments bigoted, they're ignorant of the city where he lives.
His comments aren't ignorant... they're aspirational!
#17
Old 05-18-2018, 12:24 PM
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Wasn't Jack Thompson disbarred for basically being a dick? In his case, not so much his public dickishness, but for constantly fighting the Florida bar association?
#18
Old 05-18-2018, 12:46 PM
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Disbarred for being a dick (out of court)? Perhaps not, but a Dick may be Spotted, either by a bystander with a cell phone camera, or by a British dessert cook.

https://straightdope.com/columns...-spotted-dick/
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#19
Old 05-18-2018, 12:55 PM
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It's a good question.

In Ontario at least, the answer appears to be that the Law Society would be reluctant to judge purely "extra-legal" dickish behavior, but may do so, if such behavior brings the integrity of the lawyer into question: an argument could be made that a lawyer acting in an overtly harassing, bigoted manner could well qualify - as lawyers as supposed to uphold legal values, specifically including a commitment to human rights, and specifically not to be bigots.

Extracts from the Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct. Note commentary 3, 4 and 4.1 to R. 2.1-1.

Quote:
2.1-1 A lawyer has a duty to carry on the practice of law and discharge all responsibilities to clients, tribunals, the public and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity.



[3] Dishonourable or questionable conduct on the part of a lawyer in either private life or professional practice will reflect adversely upon the integrity of the profession and the administration of justice. Whether within or outside the professional sphere, if the conduct is such that knowledge of it would be likely to impair a client's trust in the lawyer, the Law Society may be justified in taking disciplinary action.

[4] Generally, however, the Law Society will not be concerned with the purely private or extra-professional activities of a lawyer that do not bring into question the lawyer's professional integrity.

[4.1] A lawyer has special responsibilities by virtue of the privileges afforded the legal profession and the important role it plays in a free and democratic society and in the administration of justice, including a special responsibility to recognize the diversity of the Ontario community, to protect the dignity of individuals, and to respect human rights laws in force in Ontario.



6.3.1-1 A lawyer has a special responsibility to respect the requirements of human rights laws in force in Ontario and, specifically, to honour the obligation not to discriminate on the grounds of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences (as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code), marital status, family status, or disability with respect to professional employment of other lawyers, articled students, or any other person or in professional dealings with other licensees or any other person.

...

[15] In addition to prohibiting discrimination, rule 6.3.1-1 prohibits harassment on the ground of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, or disability. Harassment by superiors, colleagues, and co-workers is also prohibited.

[16] Harassment is defined as "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome" on the basis of any ground set out in rule 6.3.1-1. This could include, for example, repeatedly subjecting a client or colleague to jokes based on race or creed.

Last edited by Malthus; 05-18-2018 at 12:56 PM.
#20
Old 05-18-2018, 01:49 PM
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Can You Be Disbarred For Being A Dick?

md2000 and Malthus make good points: lawyers, more than anyone, should be careful about making a careless or completely unwarranted complaint to law enforcement agencies.

If the completely unwarranted complaint to LEO also has a racist component to it, I could see a law society taking a look at it, even if it's not directly connected to the lawyer's practice activities.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 05-18-2018 at 01:51 PM.
#21
Old 05-18-2018, 02:27 PM
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It depends on the complaint made to the law enforcement agency.

(A) "There are illegal immigrants working and frequenting this restaurant as customers, and I'd like you to go round them up and deport them."

(B) "There are people speaking Spanish to one another at this restaurant, and I'd like you to go round them up and deport them."

There's nothing false or actionable about the second report.

Of course, the agency in question should respond to (B) by explaining that speaking Spanish in public is not illegal, nor an indicia of problematic immigration status.

To illustrate the point, what if a lawyer called the police to report he saw a man with a holstered sidearm and he wanted the police to come arrest the armed man? (Not in New York, but in, say, Virginia, where carrying a firearm in plain view is legal and does not require so much as a license). That would (or should) also result in the dispatcher advising the caller that the conduct being described is perfectly legal. And it should not result in anyone being disbarred.

Now, if his call were more along the lines of option (A), perhaps there are the beginnings of a case of false reporting. Even then, though, it's extraordinarily weak.
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#22
Old 05-18-2018, 03:38 PM
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As an aside, I've read that the lease to his office has been cancelled so he will be looking for new space soon. I wonder how difficult it will be for him to find accommodations in a building of sufficient quality that someone would expect to find a lawyer there. I would get a good laugh out of finding out that he's stuck in a strip mall somewhere.
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#23
Old 05-18-2018, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
As an aside, I've read that the lease to his office has been cancelled so he will be looking for new space soon. I wonder how difficult it will be for him to find accommodations in a building of sufficient quality that someone would expect to find a lawyer there. I would get a good laugh out of finding out that he's stuck in a strip mall somewhere.
Preferably between a taqueria and a place that specializes in Papa a la Huancaina.
#24
Old 05-18-2018, 04:47 PM
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Is it fair to ruin his life without knowing his heart? I mean, all this could just be circumstantial, with perfectly reasonable, non-racist explanations. Right?

https://buzzfeed.com/tasneemnash...6Y#.lpDbbMNj4j
#25
Old 05-18-2018, 10:26 PM
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I saw the video - this guy is an entitled douche-bag. He lives in NYC and acts like he doesn't hear Spanish being spoken on a regular basis there?! What a clueless piece of shit.

I was on vacation in NYC a couple of years ago & found it fantastic. I thought all of the different languages being spoken was interesting, and gave the city a definite melting pot/multi-culturism that isn't found in many other places. The only language I can fluently speak/understand is English, but I don't mind hearing other languages at all, and actually think it's cool in a lot of cases.
#26
Old 05-19-2018, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Is it fair to ruin his life without knowing his heart? I mean, all this could just be circumstantial, with perfectly reasonable, non-racist explanations. Right?

https://buzzfeed.com/tasneemnash...6Y#.lpDbbMNj4j
Well, it's possible to defend "non-racist," I suppose, because his bizarre rants seem targeted at foreigners rather than particular races. The question might be how he reacts to a pair of illegal immigrants from Norway, pale, blonde and blue-eyed.

I strongly suspect his ire towards Lars and Astrid would be substantially muted, though. I think he's the kind of person who believes himself to be upset with illegal immigrants but who readily uses skin color and foreign languages as a proxy for "illegal immigrants."

I could be wrong.
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#27
Old 05-19-2018, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Well, it's possible to defend "non-racist," I suppose, because his bizarre rants seem targeted at foreigners rather than particular races. The question might be how he reacts to a pair of illegal immigrants from Norway, pale, blonde and blue-eyed.

I strongly suspect his ire towards Lars and Astrid would be substantially muted, though. I think he's the kind of person who believes himself to be upset with illegal immigrants but who readily uses skin color and foreign languages as a proxy for "illegal immigrants."

I could be wrong.
The white American born guy he went off on had a black beard and hair.
#28
Old 05-19-2018, 03:14 PM
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Opinion piece.

Being an asshat insufficient justification to disbar
Quote:
So, yes, Asshat’s behavior was deplorable, discriminatory, and disgusting—he provides a compelling case, in just a few seconds, that he is not fit to practice law. But it’s the public—his landlords, his clients, his employees, and law partners—who must make a decision about whether he loses his livelihood. There is no indication that Schlossberg has misled a court, mishandled funds, or deceived a client. Until evidence of such malpractice emerges, no organ of the state has power to strip him of his law license. It’s up to the rest of us to ensure that his career goes down the tubes where it belongs.
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#29
Old 05-19-2018, 03:53 PM
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Regardless of whether he can be disbarred, there are going to be consequences. Some offices may not want to rent space to his firm. Some clients might not want to be associated with such a complete and utter wanker. And he might have a hard time finding an associate to work with. He's probably on his own now, and he just made it his own professional life a lot harder. Being a dick in public has a price.
#30
Old 05-19-2018, 08:33 PM
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Not really relevant to the conversation, but linking for the picture.

Link
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#31
Old 05-19-2018, 08:36 PM
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Is an "upper west side apartment" an expensive location?
#32
Old 05-19-2018, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Is an "upper west side apartment" an expensive location?
Yes, and Manhattan in general is expensive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_West_Side
Like the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side is an affluent, primarily residential area with many of its residents working in commercial areas of Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It has the reputation of being New York City's cultural and intellectual hub, with Columbia University and Barnard College located at the north end of the neighborhood, and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts located at the south end. The Upper West Side is considered to be among New York City's wealthiest neighborhoods.[4]
#33
Old 05-20-2018, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
The guy has been a raging racist asshole for a long time, but it does no one any good to overreact to this sort of thing. Public exposure and mockery is warranted for someone throwing a public bigoted rant like this. Driving him out of his job and harassing him at his home is both excessive and an unpleasant precedent.
I agree and it's impractical too. So you get someone fired. One of two things happen: 1) they get another job which you don't think they should have, one that might be even more problematic given his or her racist views, 2) they rely on taxpayer support.

That's why I just call people getting fired for off duty behavior "retaliation". Because that's all it is. Some people want this person punished, there's no actual corrective action being taken here. It's just revenge.
#34
Old 05-20-2018, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
Regardless of whether he can be disbarred, there are going to be consequences. Some offices may not want to rent space to his firm. Some clients might not want to be associated with such a complete and utter wanker. And he might have a hard time finding an associate to work with. He's probably on his own now, and he just made it his own professional life a lot harder. Being a dick in public has a price.
Well, I imagine there's plenty of clients accused of discrimination or hate crimes that could use a lawyer.
#35
Old 05-20-2018, 08:41 AM
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Roy Cohn never seemed to lack clients. (Well, until he was disbarred in 1986, but he still continued to "assist" people with his expertise.)

Being a jerk lawyer is a plus for a lot of people.
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