Professionalism in a Deposition


Sarah Morris, YLD Board of Governors, 4th Circuit

Masimba Mutamba, YLD Board of Governors, 15th Circuit

Based upon the facts in The Florida Bar v. Ratiner, 40 So. 2d 35 (2010), this video will explore what professional and ethical conduct is expected and should look like during litigation. What are the consequences when there is an inability to be civil?

Viewers may in fact be familiar with the Ratiner (2010) case, because it involved behavior that took place during a videotaped deposition–behavior so unprofessional that the Florida Supreme Court found Mr. Ratiner’s conduct an “embarrassment” to the profession that “caused injury to the legal system itself.” The Referee in the case suggested and the Supreme Court agreed that members of The Bar and law students should view the video as an example of how not to conduct oneself in a legal proceeding.

In this video portrayal, viewers should consider when zealous advocacy is appropriate and when it crosses the professional and ethical lines. In doing this analysis, viewers should refer to the Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar, the Creed of Professionalism, the Professionalism Expectations, the Guidelines for Professional Conduct, and the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar 3-4.3 (Misconduct and Minor Misconduct); Rule 4-3.5 (Disrupting a Tribunal); Rule 4-4.4(a) (Embarrassing, Delaying, or Burdening Others); Rule 4-8.4(a) (Violating the Rules of Professional Conduct); Rule 4-8.4(b) (Committing a Criminal Act); Rule 4-8.4(d) (Prejudicing the Administration of Justice); and Rule 4-8.5 (Jurisdiction).

Viewers will also explore the attorney discipline system and types of sanctions that attorneys can face when they act unprofessionally and/or unethically.

CLE Certificate

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