Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“I really love these guys.”

Skip Kriss – Executive Vice President, The Richmond Corporation

SMACKDOWN: Judge Sam Sparks' Kindergarten Party

Civility among attorneys can help make even highly contentious disputes roll through the legal system more smoothly. Retaining or returning to a modicum of civility is an important enough issue that several states, including South Carolina and Florida, have added civility clauses to their attorney admission oaths. Beyond making things easier and keeping blood pressure down, there is another good reason to be civil to your attorney adversaries in litigation—avoiding public shaming. Get contentious enough with the other side and you may upset the judge, who can shame you on the public record for all to see.

Judge Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas did just that recently, issuing a sharply worded order inviting counsel to a “kindergarten party” where they would learn to communicate with counsel and agree to deposition dates. The order was unique and funny enough that soon attorneys around the country were receiving a copy in emails from friends and colleagues. The lawyers involved worked out their differences after the public shaming and before the “party” was necessary, but not before gaining national attention. [link to Spark’s order:]

Judge Sparks’ order may have worked to keep counsel in line, but the nature of the order provoked a negative reaction as well. Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit Edith Jones took Sparks to task in an email for the “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” nature of his order. The reaction to the order is just one more reminder that staying civil is a good idea all around.

Found In: Litigation

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?