Friday, February 28, 2003 [I like this site!] wonders why bar commissions seem to discriminate against small firm practitioners. The linked article suggests some reasons, but I, in my paranoid ravings, have another reason. Small firm lawyers will get sanctioned more readily than large firm lawyers because small firm lawyers are usually representing plaintiffs in contingency cases. Large firm lawyers are usually corporate or insurance defense outfits. Is this not discrimination against lawyers because they are plaintiff's contingency fee lawyers?

There is a link to a Washinton Post article saying that lawyers from Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and Keller & Heckman LLP, two very large firms, actually hacked their way into an opposing expert's website by guessing at, and therefore stealing, the expert's password. Said a lawyer suing the firms for this practice:

I want you to tell me how someone guessing at the password is any different than someone guessing at the combination to a safe [in a bank] or guessing at the combination to a garage door opener to get into someone's house to steal their goods."

Kind of legal espionage going on here, and any lawyer -- or client's -- worst nightmare. This is a serious example of "cheating" in an effort to do anything, fair or unfair, to win your case. As a legal technology expert opines:

"It is a serious breach of ethics, and it is a potential serious violation of criminal law," said Mark D. Rasch, a technology law specialist and senior vice president for Solutionary Inc. of McLean. "It is the electronic equivalent of breaking into someone's office to get documents for discovery."

The worst part of this story -- and the part that dovetails with the theory that this is discrimination against plaintiff's firms -- is that these big defense firms, as a result of their hacking, got the expert's testimony excluded, won the case, and beat the ethics charges placed against them by the expert. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to get out of bed in the morning.

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