sharp practice

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Sharp practice broadly refers to actions taken by someone that pushes the boundaries of rules or standards. In law, sharp practices are actions by lawyers which go against the accepted standards of practice, but they do not necessarily break an actual law. Common forms of sharp practice revolve around matters of degree such as overly pressuring witnesses, requesting documents from opposing parties during discovery, charging many fees, and generally abusing loopholes. Sharp practices can lead to criticisms or fines from a judge who finds the actions to be disruptive or excessive. It is accepted that lawyers often will use some sharp practices, and in some areas, lawyers are almost expected to use the tactics. However, a lawyer must be wary of frequently using sharp practices or face sanctions and reputational harm. 

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]