01 Feb 2013

Patent lawyer in hot water over blog

A well known Chicago patent attorney has riled local regulators in the latest example of lawyers falling into on-line bear traps.

Chicago: Illinois legal ethics police get tough

Lissandra Melo/Shutterstock.com

Joanne Denison, the named partner of patent and trademark boutique practice Denison & Associates, is facing an ethics complaint from the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission over a blog in which she rails against the state’s probate system.


A report in the National Law Journal says the complaint was brought about a fortnight ago and claims that Ms Denison ‘is undermining the administration of justice and denigrating the legal profession through her blog posts’.
According to the report, the lawyer regularly fires broadsides at what she describes as the ‘sleazy world of probate’ and the ‘garden variety theft, embezzlement’ malpractice and malfeasance by attorneys and the court’. The Journal says state ethics regulators claim the publicly accessible blog contains false statements or statements ‘made with reckless disregard for the truth’.
For her part, Ms Denison appears completely unrepentant and, indeed, keen for the fight. She told the newspaper: ‘Why should I shut up when there’s corruption going on in the courts?’

Kiwi fast-track

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the New Zealand Law Society today launched what it claims is an enhanced and more efficient system of dealing with complaints about lawyers.
Clients can now use an ‘early resolution service’ instead of going through the more traditional and formal complaints system. The streamlined process will focus on less complex complaints and use alternative dispute resolution methods.
According to the society, more complicated complaints – and those alleging serious misconduct or dishonesty -- will continue to be handed through the existing formal process.