A Lesson in Incivility

As family law litigants should always treat the opposing party with respect, so should attorneys treat opposing counsel.  In fact, under Florida Bar Rule 4-8.4(d), attorneys are prohibited from “disparag[ing]…litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel, or other lawyers on any basis.”  However, some attorneys are just not keen on getting along.

Recently, two attorneys were reprimanded by the Florida Bar for hostile and unprofessional behavior.  Below are excerpts from emails they exchanged (as published in the January newsletter of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Family Law Section):

“I do not think I deserve the jerk comment.  I was actually on the internet trying to find out what type of retardism you have by checking your symptoms, e.g. closely spaced eyes, dull blank stare, bulbous head, lying and inability to tell fiction from reality, so I could donate money for research for a cure.  However, apparently those symptoms are indicative of numerous types of retardism and so my search was unsuccessful.  Have a great day Corky.  I mean; Mr. Mooney.”

“Thanks Sparky . . . more evidence of the jerk you are. . . the fact that I have a son with a birth defect really shows what type of a weak-minded coward you truly are . . . I am sure your parents, if you even know who they are, are very proud of the development of their sperm cells . . . if you need to find the indications of ‘retardism’ you seek, I suggest that you look into a mirror, then look at your wife – she has to be a retard to marry such a loser like you . . . Then check your children (if they are even yours . . . Better check the garbage man that comes by your trailer to make sure they don’t look like him).”

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About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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