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Caught on the border between fierce advocacy and just plain disruption, two hard-charging litigators defended themselves last week before New Jersey’s Disciplinary Review Board against complaints they went overboard in confrontations with judges. The Office of Attorney Ethics wants a reprimand for Bruce Nagel for repeatedly objecting to a judge’s jury charge in a 1992 trial after she told him to stop interrupting. His lawyer says the conduct may have been inappropriate but it didn’t amount to misconduct. Another practitioner, Joel Solow, could be suspended for up to one year. In matters before two federal administrative law judges in Newark in 1997, Solow screamed, yelled and engaged in disruptive behavior. At various hearings before Administrative Law Judges Richard DeSteno and Jane Polisar, Solow raised his voice, told a client in open court that Polisar was going to “take advantage of you,” screamed at DeSteno and engaged in conduct that was “rude, offensive, discourteous and inappropriate” in violation of several rules of professional conduct, the complaint says. Both attorneys on the hot seat have clean records. And they have presented evidence in their defense that they were provoked by bad judging.

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