March 19, 2019 Articles

Attorney Professionalism: Ever More Important in the Fake News Era

Illinois disciplinary complaint rejects lawyer’s allegation that “[t]he standards have changed.”

By Margaret Monihan Toohey

Three months into 2019, national discourse remains divisive. Politicians on both sides of the aisle regularly lob personal insults against political foes. Friends and relatives spar in the comments section on Facebook. Do these shifting standards of private and public decorum change the boundary lines for unprofessional conduct by attorneys? A recent disciplinary complaint suggests otherwise.

In December 2018, a Chicago-area lawyer found himself in hot water after the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a disciplinary complaint alleging misconduct, primarily in the form of boorish taunts and gendered name-calling. The allegations chiefly concern the lawyer’s behavior while defending a November 2016 deposition. 

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