June 10, 2021

Last year, a complaint was filed against then-Attorney General William Barr for violating several ethics rules. Subsequently, the bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) declined to open a full investigation based on the complaint. The decision has left legal ethics experts alarmed. On June 9, 2021, Catholic Law Professor Emerita Leah Wortham, who has worked extensively on legal ethics, spoke with The National Law Journal and gave her thoughts on the ODC’s decision to dismiss the complaint.

The National Law Journal
By: Jacqueline Thomsen
Date: June 9, 2021
An Ethics Complaint Against Bill Barr Was Rejected, and It Has Lawyers Worried

"While various rationales might have been used to decline pursuing this complaint, this one seems dangerously overbroad," said Leah Wortham, a law professor emerita at Catholic University who has worked extensively on legal ethics issues in D.C. "The message it sends is deeply troubling in comparison to the way we treat law students in bar admission and law school honor cases, the way we treat 'ordinary' lawyers in discipline cases about candor, and so on.

"We say entering the legal profession imposes duties of integrity and truthfulness-and we should act in accordance," she added.

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