The Business Litigation Blog

Attorney Chooses to Improve Golf Game Over Carefully Managing Cases

A New Jersey attorney was recently suspended for three months for making inappropriate comments to opposing counsel, and for allegedly playing golf instead of carefully reviewing files.

“Sarcastic and Sophomoric” Comments

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently suspended lawyer Jared Stolz on September 4, 2014.  Part of the decision rested on what the court called “sarcastic and sophomoric” comments made to opposing counsel on several occasions.  

In 2009 and 2010, Stolz wrote several inappropriate and unprofessional comments in emails and faxes to another attorney.  The comments included: “Don’t feel you have to email me daily and let me know just how smart you are;” “Did you get beat up in school a lot? Because you whine like a little girl;” “Why don’t you grow a pair?;” “This will acknowledge receipt of your numerous Emails, faxes and letters…In response thereto, Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla.”  In a face to face encounter, the victimized attorney asked Stolz not to touch him, to which Stolz replied: “Why would I want to touch a fag like you?”

Lawyers hold an ethical duty under bar association rules to act in a professional and respectful manner to the extent possible with clients and with other attorneys.  By acting rudely or offensively, an attorney reflects poorly on the profession as a whole, and may harm the productivity and effectiveness of the matter at hand. Such behavior may cause opposing counsel or clients to bristle at working with the offensive attorney.

Gone Golfin’

Everyone is entitled to a vacation now and then, but it is generally a good idea to make arrangements ahead of time so that the vacation
does not unduly impact one’s business or clients.  Apparently, Mr. Stolz did not do so effectively.  At his disciplinary hearing, he noted he
“neglected [his] files,” “played too much golf,” and “went to Punta Cana with [his] family.” This led him to make mistakes in his clients’ cases.  

As a result of the errors caused by his heavy golfing lifestyle, the attorney hired two new attorneys to help him keep track of incoming
documents and to manage his case load. Although the attorney still has the golf bug because he later noted: “Am I going to get lazy again and play more golf? I hope so.”

More Questions

If you have questions about legal malpractice or ethical issues about attorneys, contact the attorneys at the Patterson Law Firm.   If you or a close friend or family member has experienced possible legal malpractice, you may have a serious claim. Your claim can help to ensure that legal ethical standards are upheld within your community. 

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