In Lehto v. Board of Education of the Caesar Rodney School District, (Del. Supr., Dec. 2, 2008), read opinion here, the Delaware Supreme Court addressed the issue of immorality in connection with upholding the dismissal of a school teacher based on what was described as immoral conduct primarily engaged in by the teacher outside of the classroom, but with a nexus to the teacher’s role in both the school and the community in general.
So what relevance does this case have to this blog on corporate and commercial litigation?
The answer is that legal ethics is one of the topics covered on these pages as part of business litigation generally, and although this particular aspect of legal ethics was not addressed in any way in the court’s opinion, I am confident that the discussion of the nexus between the immorality of a teacher’s conduct outside the classroom and that teacher’s role in the community and effectiveness as a teacher (which is discussed in this opinion), may be used by analogy in some hypothetical case in the future that might involve an issue about whether the actions of a lawyer at home or "off the job" have any bearing on his or her fitness and qualifications to be a lawyer. See generally, for example, Rules of Professional Conduct 8.3(a) and 8.4(b)(referring to misconduct that calls into question one’s "fitness as a lawyer").