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Foley Lawyer Skirts Supreme Court Punishment
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Summary: The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed disciplinary action against a Foley & Lardner lawyer.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not be trifled with. Only Monday did they dismiss disciplinary action against Foley & Lardner partner Howard Shipley for submitting a petition with questionable language. The petition was not written exclusively by Shipley, but as he explained, was written mainly by his client, a German business executive, and not a lawyer himself, who used inscrutable acronyms, difficult sentences, and technical jargon.


“A response having been filed, the Order to Show Cause, dated December 8, 2014, is discharged. All Members of the Bar are reminded, however, that they are responsible – as Officers of the Court – for compliance with the requirement of Supreme Court Rule 14.3 that petitions for certiorari be stated ‘in plain terms,’ and may not delegate that responsibility to the client.”

The client in question, Schindler, is a computer-science professor at the Technical University of Berlin and head of a technological company. As he had done on previous cases, with no complaint those times, he insisted this time on contributing to the petition. “The final product was certainly not what Mr. Shipley would have filed if he were representing a more deferential client,” but Schindler “insisted on retaining primary control over the substance of the petition,” as former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement explained. Shipley hired him to write the response the court had requested.

On Dec. 8, the court had issued an order telling Shipley “to show cause, within 40 days, why he should not be sanctioned for his conduct as a member of the Bar of this Court in connection with the petition for a writ of certiorari in No. 14-424, Sigram Schindler Beteiligungsgesellschaft MBH v. Lee.”

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“We are pleased with and respect the Court’s decision regarding this highly unusual matter,” said Foley & Lardner spokesperson Linda Yun, in response to the decision to dismiss punishment.

Shipley is the first attorney to be threatened with punishment for actions within the Supreme Court since 2000.

News Source: National Law Journal


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