There is advocacy, and then there is deception. Deceiving counsel should be called out, named, and shamed.
Unfortunately, it is the very lawyers that are so adept at misleading the court that are the hardest to unmask.
Judges should look out for the following red flags to know that something sinister is happening:
- Only one party has filed material.
- Important documents are intentionally omitted to mislead the court. That way counsel can try to avoid being sanctioned for expressly lying.
- Counsel says that the other party “should have known” that a certain point would be argued based on the pleading or some other vague document.
- Counsel blames opposing counsel for their failures instead of owning it.
- Counsel pretends like something was sent, when it never was provided or was provided at a different time than alleged.
Instead of letting the halo effect take over, I encourage judges to look critically at the counsel before them. Often times, counsel who appear to be shining knights can be the dirtiest of them all. These lawyers just leave no trace.