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Tag: opposing counsel

Do family law divorce attorneys of the opposite side stalk and harass their client’s opposition if the client pays for it?

Some do (if you can imagine an attorney doing something like that, it’s probably already been done), but they’re outliers, and they are violating both the law and the rules governing fitness to practice law if and when they do so.

If an attorney is actually (actually) violating the law or violating the rules governing the practice of law, you are not obligated to suffer it. Notify your attorney and bring the misconduct to the attention of the court, the police, and the bar.

That stated, one cannot simply and subjectively brand an attorney of being a stalker or of engaging in harassing behavior and thus establish the attorney as a stalker or harasser. It’s common for sore losers to make false accusations of harassment against an opposing party and his/her attorney. Why? Because it’s a cheap, risk-free way to cast aspersions and demonize and neutralize (if the accusations stick to any degree) the opposing party and/or his/her attorney. Don’t be that guy/gal. If you think you may feel “stalked” and/or “harassed,” before your start accusing, be honest with yourself and ask whether you’re truly being stalked and harassed or just feeling defeated, hurt, angry, anxious, and afraid and wanting to lash out.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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Artificial Fraudulence

Seth Godin stated it well when he wrote, “The ease with which someone can invent and spread lies [with advancing technology] is going to take most of us by surprise. It’s going to require an entirely new posture for understanding the world around us.”

This is especially true in family law.

We will soon reach the point (some are there already) in family law where a spouse or parent can create fake email, text, and audio and visual “records” of spousal and child abuse, substance abuse, infidelity, assets and debt, property damage, diminution and dissipation of assets, scientific data, etc. that is all but indistinguishable from the genuine article. The level and volume of fakery will be impossible for all but the wealthiest of litigants to discern (and even then, if a duped judge is too proud or to biased to acknowledge and remedy the fraud, all the proof in the world won’t protect the innocent). When truth is practicably impossible to verify in the legal process, truth becomes meaningless to the process.

I don’t know how best to address this problem (it may already be too late). Unless the profession takes immediate and wise action, the liars will make such a mockery of the legal process so fast and so pervasively that trust in the system will be irreparably destroyed (and with good reason). We may reach a point where society at large gives up on the notion of justice being a function of truth (reality).

One concern I have is members of the profession (both opposing counsel and judges) acting “offended” for outraged or “concerned” if somebody claims that deepfakes and other similar tactics are being engaged. I’m concerned that someone who may in the utmost sincerity raise legitimate concerns about the authenticity and veracity of certain evidence being ridiculed as paranoid, a vexatious litigator, unprofessional, etc. Not out of a genuine belief, but in the hopes that shaming or even persecuting the whistleblower will result in the claims being retracted so that the hard work of getting to the truth can be avoided and or so that the desired outcome is not impeded by the facts. When that happens, then who will judge the judges, and by what standard?

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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Law from a legal assistant’s point of view, week 7: You got to be tough

By Quinton Lister, Legal Assistant

The practice of family law takes a thick skin. I haven’t been at the job long (and I’m just a legal assistant), but it’s obvious that you got to be tough to do this job well, even as a legal assistant. Divorce and domestic relations cases are by their very nature very contentious things. I was surprised at how few divorces are amicable divorces until I learned that my boss, Eric Johnson, is a go-to attorney in high-conflict cases.  

So how does family law require toughness? Emotionally. That’s a big one. I have always struggled with other people saying unkind things to me or in my presence. This likely makes me seem weak or like I am complaining. That is not my intent. I realize now more than ever that 1) when people are “mean” it is likely because they are under some type of distress and/or they are upset about a crisis or hardship they are experiencing; and 2) for some reason I respond by feeling as though it is my fault that they are upset, even though both they know and I know that I have done nothing wrong.  

Emotions run high in family law and it is easy to get caught up in someone else’s bad mood. I am learning that I have to be “tough”, in that I cannot let other people deter me from getting what I need to get done, done. I need to remember that when the clients lash out at me that it’s not really me they have a problem with. That is easy to say but proving difficult for me to implement in my work. It seems that I slip into letting the particularly difficult clients treat me as the whipping boy without even noticing it or realizing that it’s perhaps the worst thing I could be doing, under the circumstances. Not taking the clients’ distress and anger personally, and not letting angry clients or other people I work with—like court clerks and opposing attorneys and their staffs push me around—that is probably the toughest thing for me right now this week, but the practice of law requires that I change.  

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277  

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When a lawyer drops a client, is the reason shared with the judge and/or opposing counsel (i.e., the client refused to be reasonable, etc.)?

When a lawyer drops a client, is the reason shared with the judge and/or opposing counsel (i.e., the client refused to be reasonable, etc.)?

In Utah, where I practice divorce and family law, the answer is: no.

When a lawyer drops a client/stops representing a client (known as “withdrawing as counsel” for that client), the lawyer is not permitted to inform the judge or opposing counsel as to the reasons why. This is due to the attorney’s duties to keep confidential 1) the communications between attorney and client and 2) the information relating to the representation of the client. See Utah Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct:

Rule 1.16(d):

(d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests[.]”

Rule 1.6. Confidentiality of Information.

(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).

(b) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:

(b)(1) to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;

(b)(2) to prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the lawyer’s services;

(b)(3) to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime or fraud in furtherance of which the client has used the lawyer’s services;

(b)(4) to secure legal advice about the lawyer’s compliance with these Rules;

(b)(5) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client;

(b)(6) to comply with other law or a court order; or

(b)(7) to detect and resolve conflicts of interest arising from the lawyer’s change of employment or from changes in the composition or ownership of a firm, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the attorney-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client.

(c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/When-a-lawyer-drops-a-client-is-the-reason-shared-with-the-judge-and-or-opposing-counsel-I-e-the-client-refused-to-be-reasonable-etc/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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When a lawyer drops a client, is the reason shared with the judge and/or opposing counsel (i.e., the client refused to be reasonable, etc.)?

When a lawyer drops a client, is the reason shared with the judge and/or opposing counsel (i.e., the client refused to be reasonable, etc.)?

In Utah, where I practice divorce and family law, the answer is: no.

When a lawyer drops a client/stops representing a client (known as “withdrawing as counsel” for that client), the lawyer is not permitted to inform the judge or opposing counsel as to the reasons why. This is due to the attorney’s duties to keep confidential 1) the communications between attorney and client and 2) the information relating to the representation of the client. See Utah Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct:

Rule 1.16(d):

(d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests[.]”

Rule 1.6. Confidentiality of Information.

(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).

(b) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:

(b)(1) to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;

(b)(2) to prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the lawyer’s services;

(b)(3) to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime or fraud in furtherance of which the client has used the lawyer’s services;

(b)(4) to secure legal advice about the lawyer’s compliance with these Rules;

(b)(5) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client;

(b)(6) to comply with other law or a court order; or

(b)(7) to detect and resolve conflicts of interest arising from the lawyer’s change of employment or from changes in the composition or ownership of a firm, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the attorney-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client.

(c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/When-a-lawyer-drops-a-client-is-the-reason-shared-with-the-judge-and-or-opposing-counsel-I-e-the-client-refused-to-be-reasonable-etc/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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