Another interesting State Bar Court decision, this one unpublished. In the Matter of Bhardwaj. Aside from another reminder that lawyers can be disciplined for conduct occurring outside the practice of law when they represent themselves, there is an interesting discussion of one of the things the respondent was sanctioned for an elaborate system of abbreviations meant to circumvent the word limitations in the Court of Appeals. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel argued that it’s violated the lawyer’s duty to uphold the law (Bus. & Prof. Code section 6068(a)) and was an act of moral turpitude (Bus. & Prof. Code section 6106.) Neither, said the Review Department, citing to their own published decision In the Matter of Lilley (Review Dept. 1991) 1 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 476, because court rules are not equivalent to statutes, and the au courant definition of moral turpitude from the Supreme Court, In re Lesansky (2001) 25 Cal.4th 11. Rather, respondent was rather “too clever by half”. This was clever enough, however, to constitute an aggravating factor.
No example of what this abbreviation system looked like in practice or was so dense as to amount to a secret code.
David C. Carr ~ Ethics Lawyer
David C. Carr, an attorney in private practice in San Diego, California, specializes in ethics advice to lawyers, California State Bar discipline defense, and attorney licensing.
Mr. Carr is a 1986 graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Following several years of practice in commercial law and business litigation, Mr. Carr joined the State Bar of California as a staff attorney in 1989, where he served as a staff attorney, a discipline prosecutor and a manager in discipline enforcement office before returning to private practice in 2001.
Mr. Carr is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, where he is active on the Legal Ethics Committee. He is a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, and the Association of Discipline Defense Counsel (ADDC), where he served as president from 2008 through 2011. He is also a member of the State Bar's Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) for the 2018-2021 term. Mr. Carr is an adjunct faculty member at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he has taught professional responsibility.
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