Every year, incoming first-year law students are told a simple truth: You can sue anyone at any time for anything, anywhere.
That does not mean you will win. And it does not mean doing so is always consistent with a lawyer’s ethical and professional obligations. Some of the lawyers at the firms handling the litigation work for President Donald Trump’s campaign or related Republican Party organizations are now raising concerns internally about the legitimacy and purpose of the legal claims they are currently being asked to advance. These concerns have merit: Lawyers have ongoing obligations to adhere to the ethical requirements of the state bars through which they are licensed, as well as the relevant rules of the court(s) before which they are practicing. Trump may not have to worry about keeping a job after January 20, 2021, but the lawyers doing his bidding at the moment certainly do.
The wave of quixotic lawsuits flying out of Trump’s legal team is stretching the boundaries of anything remotely resembling a coherent and evidence-based approach to litigation. In the mere eight days since Election Day, the Trump campaign has filed at least 10 different lawsuits in at least five different states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada). Some of these are run-of-the-mill lawsuits fighting over minor issues, but several directly allege fraud, and a few include documentation claiming to prove the existence of that fraud.