Ethics Lesson: Keep Your Pants on in Court

Today’s ethics lesson comes from Pennsylvania, where an attorney was charged with disorderly conduct after he removed his pants in the courthouse.

While trying to make his way through security, the attorney’s suspenders repeatedly set off the metal detector.  Apparently, the attorney requested that the security guards use the metal detecting wand, but the security guards refused.  As such, it appears that the communications between the attorney and the security guards became rather heated.  As the parties became more agitated, the attorney had what he described as a “brain fart,” and decided that rather than removing the suspenders, he would simply remove his pants and put them through the metal detector “to make a point.”

Unfortunately, the point was not well received, and the attorney was taken into custody by Sherriff’s Deputies.

While the incident seems harmless and quite comical, it is important to remember that as professionals we are held to a higher ethical standard.  Particularly as a trial lawyer, it is a little concerning that the attorney’s response to a relatively minor inconvenience was to react so childishly.  So, a couple key takeaways from this encounter: check your outfit to limit metal items before going to court and take a deep breath before you get undressed in the court lobby.  As the Sherriff’s Department smartly pointed out in its press release regarding the incident, “visible underwear is not part of the [court] dress code.