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Lawyers Gone Rogue

Vivia Chen

October 7, 2010

Are lawyers losing it these days? What happened to that uptight, upstanding model of lawyerly restraint?

Lots of news about misbehavin' lawyers recently. So let me organize the information for you. Some lessons on how NOT to conduct your career:

Don't disrobe or commit other unwelcome lewd acts if you are in the law and order biz.

Myrl Serra, the district attorney for part of western Colorado, "has been banned from returning to his office after his arrest on charges of unlawful sexual contact, official misconduct, and indecent exposure," reports the ABA Journal blog.

Don't hit on sex abuse victims--especially if your job is to prosecute their alleged abusers.

Kenneth Kratz recently lost his job as the D.A. of Calumet County in Wisconsin. "A domestic violence victim who turned to Kratz’s office for help claims that the D.A. sexually harassed her via numerous text messages, trying to convince her to have an affair with him," reports Above the Law. "One of his texts read, in pertinent part, 'I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!' "

Don't load your computer with kiddie porn. In fact, just steer clear of the whole yucky subject.

Joshua Gessler, 41, an Arnold & Porter corporate associate, was charged with possession of child pornography and production of child pornography, according to the Blog of the Legal Times. Gessler allegedly met a teenage runaway online, then "took photos of her that the police department says were 'of a sexual nature.' He later allegedly transmitted them electronically." Not clear if he used the firm's computer, but I don't think it matters at this point. (The firm has taken down his listing and isn't talking about it.)

Don't deduct your sex expenses on your tax return, even if you are a tax expert.

The New York tax appeals board denied a tax lawyer's claim for "hundreds of thousands of dollars" spent on prostitutes, massages, pornography, and other sex-related activities as medical deductions, reports the New York Law Journal. The unsigned opinion says, "Patronizing a prostitute is illegal in New York and, thus, a taxpayer cannot claim a deduction for any illegal operation or treatment."

Finally, I don't want to stereotype, but why are all these offenders men? Will the day come when women behave just as stupidly?


Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.

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Here's another one:


It seems that female attorney Charna Johnson of Phoenix began telling her client that "his deceased wife had 'come' to Johnson and that the wife's 'spirit' was 'inside' her and that she could communicate the wife's thoughts," according to the report. The client testified that Johnson pressured him to have a sexual relationship with her, although she told the investigator that the references to sex were coming from the deceased wife, not herself.

Oral arguments were almost a month before your article, but somehow you managed to miss the story, Viv? Could it possibly be because the sexual misconduct was perpetrated by a woman?

Why? Because you, Vivia, report selectively and are misandrist.

Where were you when Assistant State Attorney Lydia Wardell got her second DUI? http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/article970169.ece

Where were you when lawyer Kristin Lefevre posted nude in Playboy? http://www.tvfanatic.com/2007/04/kristine-lefebvre-apprentice-lawyer-goes-nude-for-playboy/

Why haven't you written anything about the Brooklyn prosecutor who was just fired last month in connection with her appearances on The Apprentice? http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/trump_dump_M7hCLwZI0qbJd1ktAjFPjJ?CMP=OTC-rss&FEEDNAME=

A couple of weeks ago you were praising an million dollar female embezzler.

When will the day come when we can expect an article from you that doesn't go out of its way to slam guys and says something negative about women?

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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