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Double Threats

"J. Berger finds that Ronald G. Poliquin shall not be reinstated to the practice of law in Delaware, because he has not demonstrated that he has made sufficient progress with his addition to be fit to practice law."

OK, far be it for me to make fun of a typo. I mistype things all the time and if I made light of all my keyboard errors, they wouldn't be funny for long.

Still, a wrong word in a right place can be thought-provoking.

The above quote is from a Courthouse News brief of a Delaware Supreme Court ruling that caught my eye. It seemed so logical - why wouldn't you test lawyers on their math skills?

Why hadn't I (or anyone else) thought of that before?

Delaware must be onto something.

Then I read the ruling. The lawyer in question had an addiction problem, not an addition problem.

Imagine my disappointment.

My thoughts, however, remained provoked. Think of all the vital skills that good lawyers ought to have that they're never tested - or educated -- for.

You need math for business and damage calculations. You need science for forensics and patent disputes. You need acting and improv chops for the courtroom. You need a sense of style for negotiating sessions.

I could go on and on. But all we are required to study to practice law are law courses. No wonder people are disappointed in their lawyers.

There's a simple solution: double majors. Require all would-be lawyers to get at least one other degree while in law school and then specialize in that other field and publicly disclose the qualification.

This not only helps attorneys with skills they'll need, but enables potential clients to find just the right advocate.

For example, a law/theater grad would be granted an RBD (Raymond Burr Degree) and be required to use the label "Theatrics Specialist" or "Ham Law."

Law/psychology: CC (Counsel Counsel) and the label "Legal Therapist" or "Frasier at Law."

Law/medicine: HDL (Honored Doctor/Lawyer) and the label "Malpracticer" or "Good Cholesterol." (Disciplined HDL attorneys would be downgraded to LDL.)

Law/forensics: CSIJD (Crime Stuff Is Just Dandy) and the label "Sherlock" or "Crime Lord."

Law/real property management: MUD (Master of Unlawful Detainer) and the label "Mudder."

Law/economics: DOW (Doctor of Winning) and the label "Dow Master" or "Wolf."

Law/engineering: MAL (MacGyver at Law) and the label "Mr. Fix-It" or "Troll Slayer."

Law/sports: JOCK (Judicial Order of Competitive Knowledge) and the label "Jock."

More Delaware: While we're on the subject of lawyer discipline in Delaware, let me ask you this: Should the punishment really fit the crime?

I submit to you the Delaware Supreme Court ruling In the Matter of Robert S. Bria . The good stuff is in the attached Board of Professional Responsibility report.

"(I)n the spring of 2008, Respondent was unable to determine how to fill out his taxes using the software program 'Turbotax' because he was unable to figure out how to enter his partnership income from his 'K-1' form."

So his state taxes didn't get filed because, for some reason, he thought his federal extensions applied to his state taxes -- and the same thing happened for the next four years, while he desperately searched for someone who knew how to use a computer.

The respondent was referred to a "licensed therapist" for his "procrastination issues."

The board and the state Supreme Court ruled that the procrastinator should be suspended for six months and a day - so he can worry about his problem later.

Perfectly logical.

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