Wednesday, October 26, 2005

R.M. v. Supreme Court of New Jersey, 2005 N.J. LEXIS 1140

In R.M. v. Supreme Court of New Jersey, 2005 N.J. LEXIS 1140, R.M. won.

As written and as applied, Rule 1:20-9 violates the First
Amendment because it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. A grievant may discuss publicly the fact that he or she has filed a grievance, the content of that grievance, and the result of the process.

The New Jersey Supreme Court cited Roth:

Far from safeguarding only profound statements on topics of great import, the First Amendment protects "all ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance." Roth v. United States,
354 U.S. 476, 484, 77 S. Ct. 1304, 1309, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1498, 1507 (1957).


To sustain government proscription of the publication of truthful speech, the State has the burden of demonstrating that the law furthers a compelling interest. First Nat'l Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 786, 98 S. Ct. 1407, 1421, 55 L. Ed. 2d 707, 724 (1978). Moreover, even if the regulation of speech
advances a compelling interest, the State must also show that the
regulation is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479, 488, 81 S. Ct. 247, 252, 5 L. Ed. 2d 231, 237 (1960).


Shielding dismissed grievances behind a permanent wall
of silence does less to "enhance respect" for the legal profession and the ethics process than it does to "engender resentment, suspicion, and contempt." Landmark, supra, 435 U.S. at 842, 98 S. Ct. at 1543, 56 L. Ed. 2d at 12 (quoting Bridges, supra, 314 U.S. at 270-71, 62 S. Ct. at 197, 86 L. Ed. at 207). We conclude, therefore, that even when the ethics authorities deem a grievance to
be meritless, the grievant has the constitutional right to discuss and disagree with the determination of those authorities.

UPDATE. Oct. 30

from MyShingle :

This article, Lawyer Fights Back from Disbarment, NYT (10/30/2005) reports on former solo David Dean who 15 years ago was earning seven figure income as a successful plaintiffs' attorney.

UPDATE. Dec. 7

Lawyers rate low in a Gallup Poll on honesty:

Here are the rankings, with the percentage giving each group a high or very high ranking:

Nurses 82
Druggists/Pharmacists 67
Medical doctors 65
High school teachers 64
Policemen 61
Clergy 54
Funeral directors 44
Bankers 41
Accountants 39
Journalists 28
Real estate agents 20
Building contractors 20
Lawyers 18
Labor union leaders 16
Senators 16
Business executives 16
Stockbrokers 16
Congressmen 14
Advertising practitioners 11
Car salesmen 8
Telemarketers 7


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