Mar 30, 2017

The Effects Of Uncivil Advocacy


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11/17/2008
Brian S. King
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Sometimes lawyers are accused of being a little nasty, a bit discourteous, somewhat over the aggressiveness line, in their efforts to represent their clients. It's true that we can sometimes err in being a little too zealous or personal in our advocacy. In the recent case of Peters v. Pine Meadow Ranch Home Association, 2007 UT 2, ___ P.3d ___ (Utah 2007), the Utah Supreme Court dismissed an appellant's case due solely to the over the top arguments of his attorney in the briefs filed with the court. It's a pretty amazing read. You'll learn something and be engrossed at the same time. I don't recall a court opinion that so thoroughly and exclusively focuses on the bad advocacy behavior of a lawyer. Not that it is unjustified. Here are a couple of things, among many, a person can take away from this opinion. First, it's rarely a good idea to accuse a judge of fabricating evidence. Second, it's never a good thing for an appellate court to refer to your brief as "scandalous."

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