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44 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 413 (2010-2011)
Attorney Deceit Statutes: Promoting Professionalism through Criminal Prosecutions and Treble Damages

handle is hein.journals/davlr44 and id is 417 raw text is: Attorney Deceit Statutes:
Promoting Professionalism Through
Criminal Prosecutions and Treble
Alex B. Long*
Unbeknownst to many lawyers, at least twelve jurisdictions -
including New York and California - have statutes on the books that
single out lawyers who engage in deceit or collusion. In nearly all of these
jurisdictions, a lawyer found to have engaged in deceit or collusion faces
criminal penalties and/or civil liability in the form of treble damages.
Until recently, these attorney deceit statutes have languished in obscurity
and, through a series of restrictive readings of the statutory language,
have been rendered somewhat irrelevant. However, in 2009, the New York
Court of Appeals breathed new life into New York's attorney deceit statute
through its decision in Amalfitano v. Rosenberg. This Article discusses
the extent to which, in this age of widespread distrust of the legal
profession, this type of external regulation of the legal profession is a
desirable approach. The Article concludes that although the utility of
existing attorney deceit statues is undermined by the broadness of the
language, the symbolism of the statutes is important. By relying on the
development of tort law to address the same subject matter, courts can
achieve the same educational and symbolic goals while dealing with
attorney deceit on a more practical basis.
. Associate Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law. My thanks
to the participants at the Oklahoma City University School of Law faculty colloquium,
including Paula Dalley, the Honorable Neil Gorsuch, Carla Spivack, and Deborah
Tussey, for their comments and participation. Thanks also to Tom Davies and Maurice
Stucke for comments and assistance. Paul Wehmeier provided valuable research
assistance for which I am grateful.


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