Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Joke

Making a legal mockery of bad taste:
The new rule bars engaging in conduct the lawyers “know 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.”

Though only the state bars may pass conduct rules constraining attorney behavior, rules adopted by the ABA wield great influence, often prompting the state bars to promulgate the same or similar regulations.

The rule prompted vigorous debate among practitioners and commentators, many of whom feel the rule is imprudently tailored and implicates speech or activities that cannot reasonably be considered discriminatory. UCLA School of Law professor Eugene Volokh, a free speech expert, fears the rule could incriminate lawyers speaking on panels debating marriage equality or immigration law.

“In the process, unsurprisingly, the debater on one side says something that is critical of gays, Muslims or transgender people,” he writes at Volokh Conspiracy, the eponymous law blog he curates at the Washington Post. “If the rule is adopted, the debater could well be disciplined by the state bar.”
The first thing we do is, silence all the lawyers...

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