Judges want their courtrooms to be respected and they can demand a high level of professionalism from those who appear before them. If you're ever appearing before Judge Richard Posner, pay attention to detail! A three-judge panel of 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reprimanded attorneys for filing an allegedly misleading and unprofessional brief.
The attorneys identified in the decision, Kenneth Kirschner and Lyndon Tretter, came from the firm of Hogan Lovells and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday issued a decision criticizing the firm for a brief it filed on behalf of the Girl Scouts of the United States.
According to Thomson Reuters News & Insight, the panel of the 7th Circuit drew particular attention to the fact that the attorneys from Hogan Lovells had misrepresented precedent in their brief.
According to News & Insight, particularly irksome, the judge wrote, was a case that Hogan Lovells relied on to bolster its argument that it was unconstitutional to regulate the national group's ability to draw district lines. The case was not about regulating a group or organization, as Hogan Lovells argued, but instead it was about regulating political parties, Posner wrote. That distinction, which Hogan Lovells "misleadingly" did not identify, was critical, Posner wrote.
The law firm allegedly substituted the word "group" for "party" in the brief, distorting the case law, alleged Judge Posner when rendering the opinion. Judge Posner also noted that this "could not be accidental."
The brief went on to state that the lower court had granted summary judgment to The Girl Scouts of the United States on all counts, which was inaccurate. In reality, the lower court had determined that The Girl Scouts of the United States had violated Wisconsin law, but that such violation was inconsequential.
"We stand by our brief and are disappointed by the authoring judge's characterization," said partner Lyndon Tretter in a statement emailed to the ABA Journal.