As I was looking through my news feed on Facebook today, a video of attorney Gerald Curry popped up. Many of you probably don’t even know who Gerald Curry was, but he became headline news about 11 years ago when he was chased down and shot by a man who was fighting a court-appointed trustee over money that he claimed the trustee was withholding from his injury settlement trust fund. Mr. Curry represented the trustee in the litigation. Mr. Curry survived his injuries and continued to practice until his death in 2012. The video of this shooting follows.
Violence is not uncommon against attorneys (even their staff), from not only their own clients, but by the opposing party. As can be gathered from the information regarding Mr. Curry’s shooting, even attorney’s who are not in Family Law can be victims of violence. It amazes me that the American Bar Association has not updated its article done in the mid-90′s, “Lawyers in Harm’s Way.” This article revealed that 60 percent of family lawyers had been threatened by opposing parties, and 17 percent have been threatened by their own clients. I believe that these percentages have probably increased since the mid-90′s, given the recent rise in violence in our world.
In June 2013, in California Lawyer magazine, a well written article by Wendy L. Patrick titled “The Dangerous Client,” talks about the increasing violence in our nation and an attorneys ethical duties a lawyer has to their clients and to the public. For those of you interested, you can read this article here. As we all know, violence in the workplace has increased and it is a concern that I am sure many people have. I know that I think about this almost everyday as I head off to work, especially working in the Family Law arena.