Ethics, schnethics, or…”Sanction me!”

Personal injury lawyer Glen Lerner made an interesting ethical call when he decided to stick out a “sabbatical” in Pennsylvania rather than return to Las Vegas to defend his client in a criminal…no, a murder trial. According to, he left a voice-mail (!) message for the county prosecutor saying, he wouldn’t be returning for trial and if the judge “wants to sanction me, she can sanction me.” A man true to his word, Lerner didn’t show up for the first day of trial.

Wow. Talk about copping an attitude.

Now, according to local legal experts, the sanctions that the lawyer so freely availed himself to can include jail time and disbarment. Disbarment, as some of you might know, means that Lerner could lose his license to practice law. However, the consequences of Lerner’s ethical decision depends on the judge. She says, she wants to hear his side of the story. Just like in the movies, everyone is guilty until…I mean, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

At the time of publication, the Review-Journal article said that Lerner hadn’t been called to the carpet yet to explain himself.

A question for paralegal students: if this took place in California, which ethical rule or code section would the judge or State Bar apply to this conduct?


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