Too Clever By Half

Another interesting State Bar Court decision, this one unpublished.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.

 

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