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Legal Ethics

Lawyer Makes Amends for ‘French Fries’ Remark

Posted Jun 21, 2007 8:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The lawyer who told a bankruptcy judge she was “a few french fries short of a Happy Meal" has been ordered to take an online professionalism course.

Chicago lawyer William P. Smith voluntarily stepped down as head of the bankruptcy practice at McDermott Will & Emery after making the remark, according to the Daily Business Review.

Smith’s lawyer, Paul Battista, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff that Smith is taking other action as well.

He has already completed the professionalism course, will donate at least 200 hours of his time to pro bono work, and will contribute money to the Center for Ethics and Public Service at the University of Miami law school, Battista said.

Isicoff could have revoked Smith’s pro hac vice status that allowed him to practice in her South Florida bankruptcy court.

Isicoff said she hoped the incident would start a discourse about proper ways for lawyers to communicate.

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