ATTORNEY SANCTIONED FOR USING OFFICE WESTLAW…Why didn’t he just subscribe to LawReader?

Finley v. Kentucky Bar Ass’n, 378 S.W.3d 313 (Ky., 2012) September 20, 2012

The Kentucky Bar Association (“KBA”) now charges that Finley violated SCR 3.130–8.4(c) by using his official position for financial gain. SCR 3.130–8.4(c) provides that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to … engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” In this disciplinary proceeding, Finley acknowledges that his violation of KRS 11A.020(1)(c) amounts to a violation of SCR 3.130–8.4(c).

These proceedings are the result of Finley bringing his personal laptop computer to work and using it, in his downtime, to post answers to questions posted on the website for profit. The posting of these answers did not interrupt his work assignments. However, Finley occasionally used his office’s Westlaw account to do research before posting an answer to the questions asked on the website. The investigation carried out by the Office of Inspector General disclosed that Finley made thirty-six searches on Westlaw relating to questions. Finley disputes the number of searches he made relating to, but acknowledges that his use of the office’s Westlaw account and the use of his downtime while at work for the furtherance of his online employment was improper.

Finley now moves for a public reprimand to resolve KBA File 19503. The KBA has no objection to Finley’s motion and believes that a public reprimand is an appropriate sanction for his violation of SCR 3.130–8.4(c). See Kentucky Bar Association v. Pat Harris, 269 S.W.3d 414 (Ky.2008) (An attorney was sanctioned with a public reprimand, after adjudication by an administrative agency, for violating Kentucky state employment policies.).

….we agree with the KBA that a public reprimand is the appropriate sanction here, and thus grant Finley’s motion

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