Effective Strategies for Ethically Dealing with Bullies in the Practice of Law


CLE credits earned: 1.5 ETHICS

Unfortunately, too many attorneys mistakenly believe that they have to take zealous advocacy to the extreme by engaging in bullying, hostile, abusive and unprofessional conduct. This conduct often is directed against junior attorneys, women and minorities and may include comments that are sexist, racist or otherwise offensive. Having a good understanding of the ethical prohibitions against bullying in the practice of law and the proper and permissible ways to respond to this misconduct, can make a difference is how effectively you represent your client and protect yourself. This program will review the ABA Model Rules and proven strategies for countering conduct that crosses the ethical line.

Key topics to be discussed:

•   Understanding the balance between permissible advocacy and unethical bullying under the ABA Model Rules and the rules of court
•   Specific instances of Bullying and unethical conduct in the practice of law
•   Obligations to report bullying that amounts to unethical conduct
•   Effective strategies for dealing with bullying adversaries who don’t play by the rules

Date / Time: April 2, 2020

•   2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Mountain
•   11:00 am – 12:30 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

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Original Broadcast Date: May 6, 2019

Francine Friedman Griesing, Esq. is the founder and Managing Member of Griesing Law, LLC, a women-owned and operated law firm based in Philadelphia with offices in Cincinnati and New York. Fran is a valued, strategic advisor to top executives and general counsel at the region’s and country’s largest corporations and institutions. Fran has over thirty five years of experience representing clients in complex business transactions, high stakes litigation and alternate dispute resolution matters. Her clients include public and closely-held companies, not-for-profit organizations, government entities and executives. After practicing at AmLaw 100 firms and as Litigation Chair for the City of Philadelphia, Fran founded Griesing Law so women could reach their potential in the male-dominated legal field.

Fran has been recognized by Chambers and Partners USA, Best Lawyers in America, Client Choice Guide USA, and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for her expertise in commercial litigation and employment law. She has also been acknowledged as one of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Influencers of Law Lifetime Achievers, Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best of the Bar, The Legal Intelligencer’s Women of the Year, Ms. JD’s Sharing Her Passion Honoree, and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers’ Top 50 Women Lawyers and is the recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Education Center’s Excellence in Legal Education Award and the American Bar Association’s Excellence in Legal Writing Award.

Fran is highly regarded as a trailblazing entrepreneur, selected by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Bank of America as the 2018 Woman Business Owner of the Year and by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia as the 2018 Small Business Person of the Year. She’s also been included in Women’s Enterprise Magazine’s Top WBE CEOs, Philly Biz’s Executives of the Year, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year, Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction, Business Philadelphia’s Women to Watch and one of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business.

Fran is a highly sought speaker and writer and is also featured in “The Road to Independence, 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Firms”, published by the American Bar Association. She has taught Business Law, Public Employment Law and Advocacy Skills at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and Fox School of Business & Management and has been a guest lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Thomas Kline School of Law at Drexel University. Fran is an honors graduate of Binghamton University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review.

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Section I. Scope of Program
a) Applicable Rules
b) The Rationale for and Objective of this Program

Section II. An Overview of Zealous Advocacy, Professional Misconduct, and Reporting Requirements
a) No Express Duty to Zealously Advocate
b) Overly Zealous Advocates Are Rulebreakers
c) Rulebreakers Engage in Professional Misconduct
d) Our Obligation to Report Professional Misconduct

Section III. Specific Instances of Bullying and Rulebreaking
a) Improper Service and Misrepresentations to the Court Regarding Service
b) Filing Frivolous Claims
c) Abuse of Motion Practice
d) Thwarting Discovery or Advancement of the Case
        i. Suggestive or Argumentative Objections and Refusals to Answer.
        iI. Sexist and Racists Remarks at Deposition
e) Contacting Client Without Counsel’s Knowledge or Consent
f) Dishonesty Regarding Settlements

Section IV. Tools for Dealing with Unprofessional Adversaries
a) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11
b) 28 U.S.C. § 1927
c) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37

Section V. Conclusion

Section VI. Practice Pointers

ABA Model Rules to be Covered:
3.1 Meritorious Claims and Contentions
3.3 Candor to the Tribunal
3.4 Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel
4.2 Communication with Person Represented by Counsel
4.4 Respect for Rights of Third Person
8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct
8.4 Misconduct and specifically 8.4 (g)