‘High up grew a daffodil…’ — sanctioning lawyers and law firms

By Eddie Reich

Every elementary school student knows that the worst punishment is getting called out in front of the class. Whether it’s being forced to stand in the corner, perform or write something 100 times on the blackboard (see, e.g., Bart Simpson), public humiliation can be an effective deterrent. (I was going to cite a recent post ranking the best Simpson blackboard gags, until I saw that my favourite — ‘I will not waste chalk’ — was remarkably omitted.)  In the attached clip, renowned schoolteacher June Crabtree provides a fine example of this effective method of deterrence.

Lately, courts and litigants have begun to realise that these old-school punishments can be effective in dealing with lawyer misconduct. Frustrated by the apparent lack of impact that a monetary penalty can have on a wealthy corporation or large law firm, lawyers have been subject to increasingly creative — and humiliating — sanctions. You may have read about the Jones Day lawyer who was directed to write, produce and appear in a training video as a sanction for obstructing a deposition. But that’s not the only one. As a sanction for improperly removing a case to federal court, a lawyer’s entire firm was ordered to attend a continuing legal education (CLE) about federal jurisdiction and Rule 11. And a litigant in Texas has asked a court there to require the plaintiff’s general counsel to personally attend every court hearing as a sanction for having filed a baseless cause of action…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Dentons briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


1 Fleet Place

Qualified lawyers: 51
Partners: 12
Offices: 4

(International Top 50)