Many professionals are driven, competitive, proud and devoted to their craft. Professionals want to achieve success for their clients, they want to win. But what defines success? Professionals must stay within the rules of the road at all times or the result will most certainly be a total failure. Take for example the attorney accused of conspiring to setup his adversary on a DUI charge. You can’t make this stuff up.
Attorney orchestrated a plot for his opponent in a high-profile case (Opponent) to be arrested in a DUI sting in the midst of trial. Attorney’s paralegal spotted Opponent having dinner and drinks at a local bar, and relayed this information to Attorney. Allegedly acting on Attorney’s orders, the paralegal approached Opponent, lied about her place of employment, and then proceeded to flirt and have drinks with him. The paralegal persuaded Opponent to leave, and to drive her car home.
Unbeknownst to Opponent, the paralegal had alerted her boss as to what was taking place, and Attorney had arranged for the local police to be waiting nearby. As Opponent began to drive the paralegal’s car out of the restaurant, he was pulled over and arrested for DUI.
The investigation into Attorney and his colleagues uncovered a complicated plot spanning more than a hundred text messages between Attorney, his paralegal, and a local police officer. The investigation revealed that, following the arrest, the paralegal was given a large bonus, raise, and access to a firm credit card. In discussing the effect of Attorney’s actions, the judge expressed dismay at how an incident such as this could not only tarnish Attorney’s professional reputation, but the public’s perception of the legal system as a whole. Noting that this “malicious tampering with another person’s personal life and career” was “inexcusable,” the deciding judge permanently stripped Attorney of his law license, with no opportunity for reinstatement. Decisions are still pending as to Attorney’s colleagues who allegedly assisted in the plot, and the FBI is investigating the matter as a potential civil rights violation.
In the end, Attorney’s client prevailed at trial. Whether the plot to have Opponent arrested played a significant role in that victory is impossible to discern, but based upon the severe consequences Attorney now faces, it may have been better to have lost the trial, but have lived to fight another day. This is an extreme example of a professional opting to break the rules on behalf of a client and paying the ultimate price.