The Lawyer's Creed: Standards of Professional Conduct
California Attorney’s Oath: “I solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability. As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.”
Every attorney who practices law is responsible for the quality of justice in their community. A key ingredient in a fair justice system is the professional relationships between attorneys, their clients and the courts. Standards of professional conduct are designed and implemented to provide specific guidance as to how attorneys shall maintain an acceptable standard of professionalism in the industry of law.
At RPT, we proudly exemplify the standards of professional conduct proclaimed by the Sacramento County Bar Association. Whether you’re a new practicing lawyer or one with years of experience, remembering these standards are important to your professional success.
Responsibilities to the client:
- Lawyers shall be loyal to their client’s cause, but shall not allow that commitment to interfere with giving them objective and independent advice.
- Lawyers shall encourage their client against seeking litigation that’s not justifiable.
Responsibilities to the public:
- Lawyers shall allocate time on a pro bono (work for free) basis to community causes such as non-profit organizations and community services.
- Lawyers shall become routinely involved in organized activities designed to improve the courts, the legal system and the industry in its entirety, such as bar associations, seminars/workshops and networking events.
- Lawyers shall donate legal support to individuals unable to afford legal services. (“You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you at no cost to you.”)
Responsibilities to the Court and Bar:
- Lawyers shall always act toward other members of the bar in a professional, dignified, courteous and civil manner, while keeping in mind that all lawyers are agents of the court and representatives of a learned profession. Every lawyer has a duty to the justice system to act with integrity and to set a high standard of civility.
Trials and hearings:
- While in court, lawyers shall conduct themselves in a manner which promotes a positive image of the justice system, that assists the court in properly determining the outcome of a case, and displays respect for the situation at hand.
Social relationships with judicial officers:
- Lawyers shall make a conscious effort to avoid even the slightest appearance of bias or dishonesty in relationships with judicial officers and independent, court appointed officials.
- An attorney shall not attempt or threaten to use private facts pertaining to any party or individuals with the intent of gaining an advantage in a case. This code of conduct does not inhibit inquiry into sensitive matters relevant to an issue, as long as the inquiry is pursued as narrowly as possible.
Conduct in court:
To promote a positive image of the profession, attorneys shall always act with respect and dignity in court, and assist the court in proper handling of a case. For example:
- An attorney should be prompt and prepared.
- An attorney’s conduct should avoid disorder or disruption and preserve the right to a fair trial.
- An attorney should maintain respect for and confidence in a judicial office by displaying courtesy, dignity and respect toward the court and courtroom personnel.
- An attorney should renounce conduct that inappropriately demeans another individual.
- Before appearing in court, an attorney should advise a client of the kind of behavior they are expected to exemplify in an effort to prevent said client from creating disorder or disruption in the courtroom.
- An attorney should make objections for legitimate and sincere reasons, and not for the purpose of harassment or delay.
- An attorney should honor an opposing counsel’s requests that do not objectively prejudice the rights of the attorney’s client or sacrifice strategical advantages.
- While appearing before the court, an attorney should acknowledge and respond to all arguments, objections and requests to the court, rather than directly to their opposition.
- While appearing in court, an attorney should demonstrate compassion to any party, witness or attorney who has requested, or man need, accommodation as a person with physical or mental impairment, so as to foster full and fair access of all persons to the court.
At RPT, we take these codes of conduct seriously. We see ourselves not only as industry leaders in the work we produce, but in the way we conduct ourselves as well.
*Sacramento Bar Association Standards of Professional Conduct: