Every spring, hundreds of teenage, aspiring-lawyer types flock to the National High School Mock Trial Competition. Typically coached by a licensed attorney, these kids learn how to apply the Federal Rules of Evidence to a fact pattern, and eventually try a case before panels of judges.
Most of them are pretty good. At the end of each round, the judges exclaim, “Outstanding! You were better than some of the real attorneys who appear in my courtroom! Follow your dream!”
Of course, when the scores are tabbed and the courthouse empties, these pretend-lawyers stop pretending. In contrast, the fake lawyer in today’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals case, on the other hand, didn’t know when to stop. Which brings us to today’s topic: ineffectiveness vs. per se ineffectiveness.