Editors Choice

Ethics and Code of Conduct: Is a Co-Chair of Social Media for the State Bar of Texas Appellate Division Licensed to “Like” a Tweet Like This?

At Laws In Texas we submit a Texas lawyer liking a tweet that condones violence and most likely death, is not ethically licensed nor Conduct Above Reproach.

George Conway Tweet;   “Forward… reverse… forward … and again backing up the bus over Pompeo’s face”

The Impeachment Hearings of President Donald Trump

A nation of avid ‘tweeters’ are addicted to the social media news platform this week. In particular, we are going to discuss one tweet, that of rambunctious George Conway, known for his anti-Trump or “Never Trumper” tweets and a “liked” Tweet, by a lawyer in Houston, Texas.

For those that are in the dark-ages, George Conway is a lawyer and he happens to be married to Kellyanne Conway @kellyannpolls.  Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway is an American pollster, political consultant, and pundit who serves as counselor to the President in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. She was previously Trump’s campaign manager, having been appointed in August 2016.

For a quick and dirty synopsis of these two opposites in marriage, read this article.  Now you know the partisan and political background, let’s delve into the well-known and socially active Texas lawyer who has created his own social media Twitter storm…by liking a George Conway tweet.

The Texas Attorney Who “Liked” the Tweet

The Texas lawyer in question here is not your “average” litigator, Raffi O. Melkonian is an appellate attorney, based in Houston, Texas and well known on social media platform Twitter as @RMFifthCircuit. His Twitter account has accumulated over 11,500 followers and, by his own admission and that of his peers, he is known as the “Twitter Dean” responsible for creating the twitter hashtag #AppellateTwitter which reaches not only this state, but nationwide (and even global reach).

A Representative of the Legal Profession in Texas:

Raffi O. Melkonian is not only responsible for the hashtag #appellatetwitter. Mr Melkonian is a well-known and very active Texas appellate lawyer who also recently argued and won at the US Supreme Court, as documented in an interview by Law.com. He is also on the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas as a Council Member and helps run their Twitter presence @TexAppOrg as “Co-Chair of Social Media”.

JUDGE(S) & LAWYER(S)

Guilty of Posting KKK style comments on Facebook

On April 24, 2019, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public admonition to James Oakley, county judge in Burnet, Burnet County.

P.s. Not for the faint hearted, he’s just been ‘admonished’ again (October 25th, 2019) for a charge, subsequently and unsurprisingly diluted by the Judicial Commission with violating Canon 2B – by lending the prestige of his office to advance Wilcox’s private interests (including promotion on social media).

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

AND LAW PROFESSORS

At LIT, we submit a Texas lawyer, liking a tweet that condones violence and most likely death, is not ethically licensed nor “Conduct Above Reproach”:

Raffi O. Melkonian is a licensed attorney and more pointedly “Co-Chair of Social Media” for the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas.  He should know that his actions (liking a tweet that condones violence against another human being) breaches the Code of Conduct and the The Texas Lawyer’s Creed in Texas and most likely in every state in the United States of America.

Will the State or the Bar take ANY Action Against a Texas Lawyer Condoning Violence and Vehicular Homicide against another human being?

No. Not with the current incumbents who reside in positions of authority to act in the judiciary and the State of Texas.

The lawyer(s) defending a “like” on Twitter will most likely argue that liking a tweet is not writing a tweet, but why would one go out of their way to “like” a tweet and, as social media co-chair, be well aware that “like” is listed in the profile “Likes” tab? We conclude, liking a tweet cannot be viewed in any other way than an endorsement – otherwise you wouldn’t have hit the like button.

A Comparison: The BANNED UK ‘Milkshake’ Tweet (Yes, as throwing milk over a Politician is encouraging VIOLENCE and Anti-Social Behavior)

American lawyers harp on about the relationships between ‘English’ law and American law, so let’s look at a banned tweet by BurgerKing in UK. It was banned because “The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said 24 people complained that Burger King’s tweet was irresponsible and offensive because they believed it encouraged violence and antisocial behavior.

This comparison begs the question. Can George Conway’s Tweet – condoning Vehicular Homicide – be regarded as an acceptable tweet in the American Twittersphere and for lawyers to ‘like’? If so, there ends the likeness between British and American consumers of Twitter and the Rule of Law.

We Leave You with the Super Lawyers Attorney Profile for Mr. Melkonian

Raffi has broad experience in both trial and appellate matters nationwide. He has submitted briefs and argued cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals, and in the intermediate New York state appellate courts. He has also assisted on several amicus and merits briefs before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Raffi has also practiced as a commercial litigator, and in that role has assisted both in pre-trial litigation (including the successful drafting of dispositive motions) and in the litigation of trials in Federal and state courts—those cases have included securities fraud litigation, corporate governance litigation, antitrust class actions, products liability class actions, partnership disputes, and intellectual property litigation.

As a law clerk to the Fifth Circuit and to the Court of Chancery, Raffi assisted judges of those courts in analyzing legal issues in a wide range of civil trials and appeals. In addition, Raffi was selected by the Armenian Bar Association to present a seminar introducing the judiciary of the Republic of Armenia to the law of class actions in the summer of 2010.

Raffi tweets about appellate practice at @RMFifthcircuit, and also helps administer the State Bar of Texas’s appellate practice twitter account, @TexAppOrg.

Raffi has earned selection to Thomson Reuters’ list of Texas Super Lawyers (2017-18) in Appellate and Civil Litigation, and to the list of Texas Rising Stars (2016), as published in Texas Monthly.

Clerkships:

Law Clerk to the Hon. Jennifer W. Elrod, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2010-2011

Law Clerk to the Hon. Stephen P. Lamb, Delaware Court of Chancery, 2005-2006

RAFFI MELKONIAN

Top Rated Appellate Attorney in Houston, TX

Wright Close & Barger, LLP

One Riverway, Suite 2200
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: 713-572-4321
Fax: 713-572-4320
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2017 – 2019
Selected To Rising Stars: 2016
Licensed Since: 2014
Education: Harvard Law School

Practice Areas: 

  • Appellate,
  • Civil Litigation: Defense (0%)

Languages Spoken: 

  • English,
  • French

ABOUT RAFFI MELKONIAN

Admitted: 2014, Texas

Professional Webpage: http://www.wrightclose.com/attorneys/raffi-melkonian/

Honors/Awards:

  • Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters, 20172018
  • Texas Rising Stars, 2016, as published in Texas Monthly

Bar/Professional Activity:

Educational Background:

  • M.A. University of St. Andrews, 2001, First Class Honours
  • M.Phil University of Cambridge, 2002
  • Executive Editor, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 2005, cum laude

Sociably Sensible

LawsInTexas is on Twitter @LawsInTexasUSA . As Facebook recognizes, it’s not about the number of followers or likes but the reach of the tweets and we’re delighted to announce that traffic is organically visiting LawsInTexas.com more and more as a result of our articles and tweets. #AuditTexas and #RESTORETX are our hashtags on social media.

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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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