Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Capital Law Students Watch Professional Misconduct Hearing at School

For first-year law school student, Andrew Tinn, watching an Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct disciplinary hearing at his school was inspiring.

“It’s just an enriching experience, just seeing both parties make their arguments and seeing how an actual courtroom works, and it honestly is a great experience to see what’s expected in the future for me as a 1L,” Tinn said.

The board held a disciplinary hearing at a law school for just the second time since 2012. Usually judges and attorneys charged with professional misconduct have their cases heard at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus.

Capital University Law School students were able to watch the three-judge hearing panel and see what happens during a discipline hearing.

“I think many of our students come here and they’ve seen lawyers on TV and they kind of know what criminal litigation looks like but beyond that, they don’t have a lot of experience with the legal system,” Rachel Janutis, Capital University Law School interim dean, said. “This gives them an opportunity to kind of understand those rules of professional responsibility a little bit more deeper and a little bit more meaningful way.”

The students heard a Columbus attorney explain to the board panel why he didn’t think he improperly withdrew from representing his client. His client, who was hit by a car while he was crossing the street, also claimed his attorney failed to communicate with him in regards to timely re-filing his lawsuit.

“It makes me think how one’s due diligence is crucial and paramount to one’s own practice of how an individual handles every single one of their cases and every single case must be handled with the most amount of care,” Tinn said.

Heidi Dorn, counsel to the board, said observing the hearing in action gives students a better understanding of ethics in the legal setting, which she hopes means they won’t end up before the disciplinary board someday.

“The more knowledge students have and the more understanding of the ethics rules, I think the better lawyer they’re going to be because they’ll have that and can hit the ground running verses trying to learn it after they’ve made a mistake,” Dorn said. 

Dorn said the board would like to continue to promote ethics with its outreach efforts and hold hearings at other law schools across the state.