I sat down last night to watch the first episode of TNT’s new show Franklin and Bash which has been collecting dust in my DVR for the past few weeks.
I was looking forward to a dramedy with lawyers. Something I could chuckle at, and, yes, maybe get some inspiration for the blog.
So, here’s my take on the show:
Legal ethics be damned, we’re gonna do what we want in the name of entertainment.
I get that it’s just Hollywood having fun, but, really, this show should should come with a legal disclaimer.
During the first scene I found myself pausing the show to explain to my daughter “No, lawyers cannot do that. It’s a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.” I then had to explain what legal ethics were to an 11-year old who was just trying to push her bedtime back to hang out with her mom.
- Pan in on huge digital billboard of scantily clad woman doing and saying provocative things.
- Pan over to Franklin and Bash eating lunch in the diner across from the billboard.
- Huge crash in the background.
- F&B jump up and rush to the car, each shoving a business card at the driver who rear-ended an SUV.
- They each promise to get him big money … he’s the victim.
- All the while , the driver of the SUV is whining that he hit her. What about her??
OK. Lawyers and non-lawyers alike: You can’t do this.
I’m seeing several violations of the California State Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (where the show takes place), but here’s what was glaring to me:
(C) A solicitation shall not be made by or on behalf of a member or law firm to a prospective client with whom the member or law firm has no family or prior professional relationship, unless the solicitation is protected from abridgment by the Constitution of the United States or by the Constitution of the State of California. A solicitation to a former or present client in the discharge of a member’s or law firm’s professional duties is not prohibited.
(D) A communication or a solicitation (as defined herein) shall not:
(5) Be transmitted in any manner which involves intrusion, coercion, duress, compulsion, intimidation, threats, or vexatious or harassing conduct.
Pursuant to rule 1-400(E) the Board of Governors of the State Bar has adopted the following standards, effective May 27, 1989, unless noted otherwise, as forms of “communication” defined in rule 1-400(A) which are presumed to be in violation of rule 1-400:
(1) A “communication” which contains guarantees, warranties, or predictions regarding the result of the representation.
- You cannot rush an accident scene and hand out your business cards to people you with whom you have no prior relationship.
- You cannot overwhelm an accident victim by intruding on their vehicle, shoving your business card through the open windows.
- You cannot guarantee that you’ll get the person a big settlement if they call you.
I might not be a lawyer, and I definitely don’t play one at work, but I can read the Rules of Professional Conduct and discern a glaring and blatant violation when I see it.