Does poor writing and failure to follow court rules violate attorney ethics rules and, if so, what discipline is appropriate?


Poor writing and ignorance to follow court rules violates the attorney ethics rules and should be administratively sanctioned. Every legal professional has ethical obligations to follow. A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. A competent representation requires specific knowledge about the fields of law in which the attorney practices, adequate legal research, good writing skills, identification of areas beyond the attorney’s competence and bringing those areas to the client’s attention etc. Incompetence leads to inadequate legal research and poor writing skills not only violates the duty of a good representation, but also violates attorney’s duty of professional conduct with the administration of justice. As a result of failure to follow court rules an attorney may causes actual injury to a client or party. Legal misrepresentation also may provoke personal anxiety and stress by the client while dealing with legal issues.

Not following court rules wastes valuable court resources and time and causes havoc with the courts and other attorneys.

Appropriate sanctions a court or bar association may discipline an attorney for violating ethics rules are: suspension of practicing law for certain time; ordering the attorney to pay to a client and the opposite attorney penalty fee; ordering attorney to take ethics education classes or disbar the attorney.