Professionalism and Civility in Practice

00:32- Hello, my name is Mike Tanner.
00:34I've spent my entire career as a trial attorney and an active member in Bar Leadership and
00:38I'm passionate about promoting professionalism and civility in the practice of law.
00:44And what I'd like to do in the next few minutes is have you think about professionalism in a way that maybe you haven't thought about it before in the past.
00:51We want to show you some examples of the possible consequences of unprofessional behavior.
00:57Take a minute as you're watching these scenes to think about why you chose to become a lawyer and consider the public's perception of some of the behavior you're about to see and how that will affect our ability to represent the public effectively.
01:10We have over 110,000 members in the Florida Bar now, and with that comes loss of some of the collegiality that we once had in our profession.
01:21And with that comes challenges in promoting professionalism and the public's perception of us.
01:27So now take a minute to look at the scenes we're about to show you and consider the professionalism aspects of that.
01:40- Thank you for being here to help in our investigation.
01:48With your help, we hope to be able to catch the robber.
01:51Can you describe for me what he looked like and what he was wearing?
01:55- Yes, he was a white male with brown hair and he was wearing a blue jacket.
02:03- Great.
02:04Sit tight for a minute.
02:05I'll be right back with a lineup, okay?
02:10- Okay.
02:12- Okay, ma'am, can you take a look at this lineup?
02:19Take your time.
02:20Tell me if you see the robber in any of those photographs.
02:25- It's five.
02:26The robber, it's the man at vote row five.
02:31- Great.
02:32Can you please circle number five and sign your name below that.
02:41I'm just gonna sign my name now next to yours.
02:53Thank you very much for your time.
02:56We're gonna get the guy.
03:03- Okay.
03:06- Hey, man, before we get started, first things first.
03:16Did you drop your retainer check off with my secretary?
03:19- Yes, at the front desk.
03:20- Right.
03:21- If you guys could just hold off and catch it till Monday at the earliest, it'd be really helpful.
03:31- Fine, let's focus on what we're here about.
03:33As you know, the victim has identified you in a lineup.
03:39It's a big problem for us.
03:42- Look, I have, I swear I didn't rob anyone.
03:48I've never seen that woman in my life.
03:50I just need your help.
03:54- Right, so look, my goal is gonna be to try and provide you with constitutionally effective assistance to counsel.
04:07- Huh, what do you mean?
04:10In any event, the goal is gonna be to try to undermine the credibility of the lineup if I can.
04:18Hopefully maybe.
04:20And it should go all right.
04:23So any questions?
04:26- Thank you, I guess
04:28- Say no more.
04:30You can see yourself out, right?
04:40- Yeah, yeah.
04:44- Stacy, Stacy!
04:48- It's Gloria.
04:52Stacy go last week.
04:54- Sure, listen, Janine what I need is this guy right here is our client.
05:01You follow me so far?
05:03What I need you to do is take his picture out and replace it with the photo of another suspect.
05:10I don't want you to change the signatures.
05:13I don't want you to change the numbers, the verifications, none of that.
05:16Just take the photo and replace it with another suspect.
05:19- You want me to swap the photos?
05:22- Okay, look, sweetheart, you can be new but you can't be slow.
05:27I need you to change the photos.
05:28Got it?
05:29- It's Gloria.
05:33Yes, sir.
05:41Is this what you wanted?
05:51- Yes, yes, yes.
05:53This is perfect.
05:55This is genius.
05:57I am so good.
06:00All right, I want you to put these in my depo folder.
06:06Put the original in the back like in the way back outta sight outta mind.
06:11I don't want the prosecutor seeing it.
06:12You follow me?
06:14- Yes, sir.
06:16- Good job.
06:18Might stick around here after all.
06:25- Okay, now later, the police showed you a photographic lineup.
06:35Do you remember that?
06:36- Yes, they give me a lineup.
06:38- All right, and was it on a piece of paper like this?
06:42Or was it on like a cardboard cutout or some other type of setup?
06:45- It was like that, a piece of paper.
06:48- All right, so let me show you this piece of paper.
06:51This is what's gonna be marked as exhibit two to your deposition.
06:53Here's what I want you to do, okay?
06:55The person who robbed you is on that piece of paper.
06:58So I want you to take your time, look at it, take as much time as you need.
07:03I want you to be accurate now and pick out the robber on that piece of paper.
07:11- The only photo here that looks like the robber is photo one.
07:17- Number one in the upper left hand corner, right?
07:21- Yeah
07:22- Number one, right?
07:23- Yeah.
07:24- Okay, it's perfect.
07:25So what I wanna do is let's take another look at exhibit two.
07:28- Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
07:30I need like a 30-second timeout for this.
07:33- Okay.
07:35- What is this?
07:38- It's a photo lineup.
07:39- Okay, so first of all, the state is going to object to this 'cause it looks like, I mean, I don't know if this is exhibit two for deposition purposes but it appears that somehow I see Mrs. Vee's signature here.
07:57I also see the detectives signature here.
08:01However, it looks like you took the photo which was the photo that she identified and, but.
08:08- Yeah, she didn't identify the person.
08:11She didn't identify the correct person.
08:13- So I'm gonna speak very slowly 'cause I wanna make sure we get down everything that the defense attorney just tried to do 'cause I need the court to make sure it's very clear.
08:23So it appear to.
08:24- I think the reason you're probably speaking slowly is 'cause you think slowly.
08:27- Okay, so I need you
08:28- So let's finish with the defense.
08:29- to do something that you've probably never done is to close your mouth long enough for a woman to get an entire sentence out.
08:35- Okay, go ahead.
08:36- Okay, so I'm gonna finish.
08:37Thank you.
08:38- Let's see if you can complete a sentence.
08:39- So it appears as though the defense attorney handed the victim here.
08:44She just literally was robbed by this man's client and now he's trying to revictimize her and apparently changed the photo, which she circled and put somebody else.
08:55So she essentially trying to confuse her, okay?
08:58So just so we're super clear.
08:59We're gonna have to take this to the judge.
09:01We can totally try.
09:03- It's a very colorful monologue.
09:05You mischaracterize the evidence.
09:06What I did was I showed her a lineup of six people
09:09- You know what, you know what?
09:10- which is the exact same thing.
09:11- Keep going, keep going
09:12- the police officers, they just showed up.
09:13- Maybe I should just take a video of this.
09:14Hold on.
09:15- What are you doing?
09:16- What does it look like I'm doing?
09:17- Are you taking a photo of me right now?
09:18- Of course I'm taking it.
09:20- Why are you taking a photo?
09:21- So it's for educational purposes, so I need to document this sort of egregious behavior and who's responsible for it 'cause the court needs to understand your behavior.
09:29- That's why there's a court reporter here.
09:31We're gonna attach the exhibit and we're gonna finish the deposition.
09:37So ma'am, my next question.
09:38- No.
09:39- If we.
09:40- We're leaving Mrs. Vee.
09:41This deposition is done.
09:42You can take it in front of the court.
10:10- These scenes are based on the fact patterns from two real cases.
10:14The first is Florida Bar versus Schwartz, a decision from the Florida Supreme Court in 2019 and the other is from the Florida Bar versus Krapacs, a decision from the court in 2020.
10:26But before we discuss the facts and resolution of those cases, I'd like to explore with you some of the relevant guidelines and rules that apply.
10:34The Florida Bar is home to the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism which serves as an important resource.
10:40In Florida, we define professionalism as the pursuit and practice of the highest ideals and tenants of the legal profession.
10:48We refer to the four Cs, character, competence, commitment and civility.
10:53And professionalism is not aspirational.
10:56It is an expectation.
10:58We have a creative professionalism and professionalism is included in the oath of admission to the
11:03Florida Bar that each of us took.
11:06In 2015, the Florida Bar's Board of Governors approved a document called the Professionalism
11:13And the court incorporated the Professionalism Expectations into its integrated standards of professionalism which it had adopted in .
11:23The Florida Supreme Court's order in 2013 includes repeated violations of the professionalism expectations in its definition of unprofessional conduct and therefore unprofessional behavior is subject to discipline.
11:37It is also important that you understand that the standard of professionalism is the same on the first day of practice as it is in retirement.
11:46It's important to remember that professionalism is regulated through the Florida Bar's disciplinary system including case law and the rules regulating the Florida Bar.
11:56Chapter four contains the rules of professional conduct and the preamble specifically addresses civility.
12:02The lawyer's duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect.
12:14The two rules that are regularly cited regarding professionalism are rule 4-8.4 and rule 3-4.3 both dealing with misconduct.
12:25Rule 4-8.4 addresses misconduct regarding violating the rules of professional conduct and prohibits a lawyer from committing certain criminal acts.
12:35Rule 4-8.4C is directly relevant to the scene we just watched addressing dishonesty.
12:40In its states, quote, a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, close quote.
12:49Rule 4-8.4D is also directly involved to the scene you just watched addressing conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
12:58Quote, a lawyer shall not engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including to knowingly or with callous indifference, disparage, humiliate or discriminate against litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel, or other lawyers on any basis including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, employment or physical characteristic, close quote.
13:32Rule 3-4.3 generally addresses professionalism in the chapter on rules for discipline.
13:38All things considered trustworthiness and candor towards the tribunal and towards others are at the core of ethical practice.
13:46Now let's look at what happened in the real case on which this fact pattern is based.
13:50In the real case, the Florida Bar versus Schwartz, like the scene you watched, Schwartz showed the victim two photocopied versions of lineup photos at a pretrial deposition.
14:01The exhibits also included the signature of the police officer who conducted the photo lineup.
14:07Schwartz altered the photo lineup by replacing his client's image in one exhibit with the image of an alternate suspect whom witnesses other than the victim had identified as the perpetrator, and by changing the client's image in the other exhibit by imposing the alternate subject's hairstyle on the client's image, the altered lineups each retained the circle and the signature of the victim and the officer.
15:17In closing, building your reputation as a highly professional lawyer should be at the very top of your list of professional goals.
16:54To help you do that, I urge you to build lasting relationships with professional mentors, particularly in your practice area.
17:02In addition, the Florida Bar is here to serve you.
17:05Use your member resources.
17:06The Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism, LegalFuel, the Practice Resource Center and the Young Lawyers Division are all easily accessed through the Bar's website and can be found on social media.
17:18And do not forget the ethics hotline.
17:20Hotline attorneys are authorized to respond to inquiries from members in good standing of the Florida Bar who are asking about their own contemplated conduct regarding conflict dilemmas, confidentiality questions, communications concerns, trust accounting problems and other ethics difficulties unique to our profession.
17:39The toll-free number of the hotline is 800-235-8619.
17:45Thank you for your time today from the Henry Latimer Center of the Florida Bar and for promoting professionalism in our profession.