Judge Orders Ethics Refresher for Law Firm

Via Walter Olsen at Overlawyered he find this article at law.com.

A federal judge in Fresno, Calif., has ordered the entire 80-lawyer firm of Lozano Smith back to school for a refresher course in ethics as a sanction for repeated misrepresentation of facts and the law in a dispute over aid for a learning-disabled student.

Apparently the behavior of the firm was so egregious that it earned a significant sanction:

In a scorching 83-page opinion, Wanger said Lozano Smith, its lead attorney in the case, Elaine Yama, and the district engaged in “repeated misstatements of the record, frivolous objections to plaintiff's statement of facts, and repeated mischaracterizations of the law.”
In his highly unusual sanction, Wanger ordered every one of the firm's 80 lawyers in seven cities to undergo six hours of ethics training and ordered Yama to take 20 hours.

It's not often I see so uplifting a court opinion. Not only will this firm have a hard time doing any business with public schools in California, it will have trouble getting respect in court. Elaine Yama may not be with the firm any more, but apparently this has been a long-standing problem with the firm as whole:

“The Lozano law firm, in my opinion, has established an indisputable culture of deliberate, systematic institutional abuse across California,” said Jo Rupert Behm, past president of the California Learning Disabilities Association.

However, one always wonders what law firms do for revenge…

Josh Poulson

Posted Monday, Feb 21 2005 10:40 PM

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