February 11, 2022

Arizona Lawyer Disciplined for Coaching Client Through Virtual Chat Function

In January, an Arizona lawyer agreed to a two-month suspension from practice and two years of probation for coaching a witness through a virtual trial’s chat function during a 2020 trial. The presiding judge discovered the chat-based coaching when she reviewed the trial’s chat history, which included the lawyer’s directions to his client to provide specific and substantive answers to questions during cross-examination. When the judge addressed the coaching, the lawyer conditionally admitted to violating Rules 3.4(a) (Fairness to Opposing Party), 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), and accepted the sanctions.