Byline: Erika Strebel, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently publicly reprimanded a Chicago lawyer for taking a brief and changing it in ways that wentbeyond its specific orders.
The disciplinary measure stemmed from a brief that Lee Lowder, an Illinois attorney representing the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, filed in a lawsuit over the board's review of a school district's assessments of a boy's educational needs.
The court in August resolved the case in favor of the board, but it also asked Lowder, long-time deputy general counsel in the board's law department, to show why the court shouldn't publicly reprimand her formishandling a brief she had filed on March 30.
Lowder was not only a week late in filing the brief, even though she had obtained five deadline extensions from the court; she also filed her last request for an extension a day after a previous extension had ended violating local court rules, which require all requests for deadline extensions to be filed seven days before a brief is due.
Moreover, Lowder's brief's appendix contained information the court had previously ordered her to black out. She got the court to grant her motion to correct the error, but then went on to fill a brief that made extensive changes to the citations of laws and facts found in her previous brief. The court ordered her to file the new brief again, making sure it was identical to the previous one except for the sections of the appendix that it had previously said should be blacked out.
Despite that order, the new brief Lowder filed on April 16 didn't match either of the two briefs she had filed earlier.
The court on April 20 ordered Lowder to refile again, threatening to ban Lowder and her client from oral arguments should there be any further shortcomings.
The new brief Lowder filed...