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Attorneys Under Arrest: 3 Dos and Don'ts

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on August 12, 2013 12:43 PM

The ABA's Annual Conference is now underway in San Francisco, giving seasoned lawyers as well as newly minted attorneys a chance to collect some pearls of wisdom from the upper echelons of the legal profession.

Role models are important, but sometimes you can learn more about being a lawyer by examining attorneys at their worst.

It is in that spirit that we present three (allegedly) misbehaving advocates who can teach you the dos and don'ts of being an attorney under arrest.

1. Urine Trouble.

Ever wonder if you've had too much to drink? North Carolina attorney John Montgomery Holmes Jr. may have had one too many after was arrested for violently trying to get back into a Raleigh bar that had cut him off.

The real problem began when Holmes, a family law attorney, was taken to the hospital by police to obtain a blood alcohol test via a urine sample. He produced the sample -- but then promptly threw the liquid evidence in a police officer's face, reports Raleigh's WNCN-TV.

  • DO -- Know your limits, attorney or not. When a bar cuts you off, you may risk your bar membership by having some altercation with the staff for that Jager-bomb.
  • DON'T -- For most of you, this goes without saying, but don't throw urine samples at officers. Not only is it battery, but it's also the sort of conduct that might scare away future clients (or attract the wrong ones).

2. Double Bogey.

It may be common advice for young attorneys to bone up on doing business on the golf course, but an eager associate should probably should save up money for a set of clubs before getting a five-finger discount.

Baby-faced attorney Garrett Denniston is under arrest for allegedly breaking into a Fairfield, Connecticut-area golf course and making off with two staff members' golf bags and clubs, according to the Stratford Patch.

  • DO -- Follow the rules of the game, whether they include dress code or not being too competitive in front of your boss.
  • DON'T -- Commit any larcenies before or after stepping on the green, it may sour your criminal law practice.

3. Selling Yourself Short.

With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, you may end up as an attorney in a position of relative power. Just make sure not to squander that chance by doing something idiotic like accepting bribes.

Take Florida attorney Michael Pizzi for instance. Pizzi found himself in a pickle in early August after being arrested for allegedly receiving nearly "$50,000 combined in bribes and kickbacks" as both mayor of the town of Miami Lakes and the full-time town attorney in nearby Medley, reports The Miami Herald.

  • DO -- Keep track of the money you accept for and from clients. Misappropriation or failure to maintain a client trust account are very easy ways to have your bar card suspended.
  • DON'T -- Accept favors or bribes for your work, and make sure that you provide your client with a proper accounting of your time.

Follow these dos and don'ts, and you might avoid the fate of these recent attorney arrestees.

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