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The Ethics of Harassment and Discrimination by Attorneys 

Media frequently report accusations against public figures of harassment and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. Some of them allege violations of criminal law. Others sound in tort.  But attorneys, like Hebrew National, “have to answer to an even higher authority” than law. 
The American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 
8.4(g) states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law...” Emphasis supplied. 
Comments [3] and [4] to Model Rule 8.4(g) explain, “Discrimination and harassment by lawyers in violation of paragraph (g)... includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others. Harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The substantive law of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment statutes and case law may guide application of paragraph (g)... Conduct related to the practice of law includes representing clients; interacting with witnesses, coworkers, court personnel, lawyers and others while engaged in the practice of law; operating or managing a law firm or law practice; and participating in bar association, business or social activities in connection with the practice of law.” Emphasis supplied.  
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility’s Formal Opinion 493 (July 15, 2020) further guides Model Rule 8.4(g)’s application, specifying that the rule applies outside the employment context, regardless whether the conduct is severe or pervasive or violates law, beyond the courtroom, in contexts that may not connect to a specific client representation, and in all practice-related settings, such as law firm or bar association social events. 
To the extent that the courts of a state have adopted Model Rule 8.4(g) as part of that state’s Rules of Professional Conduct, the authority applying that rule to the conduct of an attorney licensed in that state may consider but need not apply anti-discrimination or anti-harassment law.  
     Litigation in Pennsylvania and comments on rules adopted in other states challenged those states’ versions of Model Rule 8.4(g) on the basis that they restrict free speech in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S.A. Constitution, notwithstanding Formal Opinion 493’s declaration that the rule “does not prevent a lawyer from freely expressing opinions and ideas on matters of public concern, nor... limit a lawyer’s speech or conduct in settings unrelated to the practice of law. The fact that others may personally disagree with or be offended by a lawyer’s expression does not establish a violation. The Model Rules are rules of reason, and whether conduct violates [the rule] must necessarily be judged, in context, from an objectively reasonable perspective.” 
     New York Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(g) prohibits only discrimination in employment and requires, as a condition to disciplinary proceeding jurisdiction, “Where there is a tribunal with jurisdiction to hear a complaint, if timely brought, other than a Departmental Disciplinary Committee, a complaint based on unlawful discrimination shall be brought before such a tribunal in the first instance [and] a certified copy of a determination by such a tribunal, which has become final and enforceable and as to which the right to judicial or appellate review has been exhausted, finding that the lawyer has engaged in an unlawful discriminatory practice.”  
But in March 2021, the Administrative Board of the New York State Unified Court System proposed not only to eliminate that condition, but to replace New York Rule 8.4(g) by American Bar Association Model Rule 8.4(g). 
         Stay tuned... 

Karen J. Orlin (admitted to practice law only in New York and Florida; expert in  Attorneys’ ethics and fiduciary duty in the U.S.A.; FINRA and Panelist AAA Arbitrator for commercial and consumer disputes)

Attorney at Law and Managing Member Karen J. Orlin, P.L. 
(305) 794-6387 (cellular, please no texts)


© 2021 Karen J. Orlin 
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Funny Quotes on a Range of Subjects

1. “My advice to you is get married: If you find a good wife you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.” —Socrates

2. “If you want to be sure that you never forget your wife’s birthday, just try forgetting it once.” —Aldo Cammarota

3. “Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” —Will Ferrell

4. “Never criticize your spouse’s faults; if it weren’t for them, your mate might have found someone better than you.” —Jay Trachman

5. “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” —Phyllis Diller

6. “Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.” —Rod Stewart

7. “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” —Jim Carrey

8. “Adults are always asking children what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” —Paula Poundstone

9. “A perfect parent is a person with excellent child-rearing theories and no actual children.” —Dave Barry

10. “Just be good and kind to your children. Not only are they the future of the world, they’re the ones who can sign you into a home.” —Dennis Miller

11. “When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.” —Rodney Dangerfield

12. “If you are not yelling at your kids, you are not spending enough time with them.” —Reese Witherspoon

13. “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”—Erma Bombeck

14. “I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.” —Phyllis Diller

15. “Friends are God’s way of apologizing to us for our families.” —Anonymous

16. “The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you.” —Rita Mae Brown

17. “The holy passion of friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.” —Mark Twain

18. “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”—Oscar Wilde

19. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” —G.K. Chesterton

20. “If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.” —George Carlin

21. “If you want to know what God thinks of money, look at the people he gave it to.” —Dorothy Parker

22. “Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need most.” —Addison H. Hallock

23. “Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It’s cheaper.” —Quentin Crisp

24. “People say money is not the key to happiness, but I have always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.”—Joan Rivers

25. “Anybody who tells you money can’t buy happiness never had any.” —Samuel L. Jackson

26. “Misers are no fun to live with, but they make great ancestors.” —Tom Snyder

27. “Doing nothing is very hard to do. You never know when you’re finished.” —Leslie Nielsen

28. “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” —Kurt Vonnegut

29. “If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.” —Judith Martin

30. “It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.” —Malcolm Forbes

31. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most do.” —Dale Carnegie

32. “Sometimes you lie in bed at night and you don’t have a single thing to worry about. That always worries me!” —Charlie Brown 

33. “Keep your temper. Nobody else wants it.” —Dearborn Independent

34. “If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?” —John Cleese

35. “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.'”—Yogi Berra

36. “Not all chemicals are bad. Without hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.” —Dave Barry

37. “I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” —W.C. Fields

38. “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” —Ernest Hemingway

39. “All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.” —Alexander Woollcott

40. “Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.” —Redd Fox

41. “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” —Mark Twain 

42. “An optimist is someone who falls off the Empire State Building, and after 50 floors says, ‘So far so good!'” —Anonymous

43. “The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.” —George Will

44. “The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” —James Branch Cabell

45. “I’m not offended by blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb…and I also know that I’m not blonde.” —Dolly Parton

46. “We use 10% of our brains. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we used the other 60%.” —Ellen DeGeneres

47.  “My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.” —Billy Connolly

48. “When it doubt, look intelligent.” —Garrison Keillor

49. “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” —Albert Einstein

50. “Think of how stupid the average person is and realize half of them are stupider than that.” —George Carlin