Being a litigator can be stressful, but no amount of stress should drive an attorney to commit any of these bonehead mistakes.
Take heed, gentle legal professionals, and delight in these top nine litigation no-no's of 2013:
1. NO Posting Videos of Your Client to YouTube
An Illinois attorney received some significant suspension time and some well deserved derisive laughs after posting a video to YouTube of his client engaging in a drug deal. Not exactly competence advocacy.
2. NO Violating State Bar Rules With Blogs
This one is a bit more subtle, but attorneys have to be fairly sophisticated about their marketing strategies to avoid being slapped around by their state's bar association. A good start would be not to blog about your clients (by name) and without any advertising disclosures.
3. NO Name-Calling Clients or Opposing Counsel
Seems obvious to you? Good. Because even privately changing a client's name in your phone to "Super Stupid Client: Don't Answer" can come back to bite you.
4. NO Racist Commercials
The allure of racist caricatures may be strong in your darkest hours, but resist. Otherwise you'll end up as an Internet meme with everyone laughing at just how pathetic you are.
5. NO Public Slamming of Verdicts or Judges
Any litigator will tell you about a verdict or order that was just plain ridiculous in light of the evidence. Those are great stories for your fellow associates or co-workers, not something you want to air on the public airwaves.
6. NO Refusing to Update Contact Info
In many states, you can be suspended from practice if you don't keep the state bar updated on your email and/or physical address. Even if you're the biggest Luddite lawyer in the state, don't let a lack of email be your Waterloo.
7. NO Rage-Tweeting
Twitter etiquette may be a new field in many ways, but you should avoid banging out 140 characters when you're high on rage-ahol. Just a suggestion: don't tell anyone on Twitter to f--- themselves and die.
8. NO Spell Check Idiocy
No matter if you're a partner, associate, or government attorney, spell check is but one of the tools in your "make sure I don't look stupid" kit. Relying on it solely to catch any errors or omissions can and will make you a laughing stock.
9. NO Knock Knock Jokes in Court
Not sure that this one ever needed to be reinforced, but the Zimmerman trial's Don West proved that it does. No matter how funny you think you're being, think again.
Avoid these no-no's in 2014, and you'll be more likely to be a "yes" for your clients.