I have the utmost respect for my duty as a lawyer and a firm commitment to my clients.
Diane L. Drain, bankruptcy attorney, retired law professor, mentor and community spokesperson.
A lawyer’s Creed of Professionalism is how I try to conduct myself daily.
As an attorney, retired law professor and counselor I hold my duty as a lawyer in the utmost respect. Our Creed of Professionalism is not just a theory – it is how I try to conduct myself daily.
Preamble: As a lawyer I must strive to make our system of justice work fairly and efficiently. In order to carry out that responsibility, not only will I comply with the letter and spirit of the disciplinary standards applicable to all lawyers, but I will also conduct myself in accordance with the following Creed of Professionalism when dealing with my client, opposing parties, their counsel, the courts and the general public.
A LAWYER’S CREED OF PROFESSIONALISM
WITH RESPECT TO MY CLIENT:
I will be loyal and committed to my client’s cause, but I will not permit that loyalty and commitment to interfere with my ability to provide my client with objective and independent advice;
I will endeavor to achieve my client’s lawful objectives in business transactions and in litigation as expeditiously and economically as possible;
In appropriate cases, I will counsel my client with respect to mediation, arbitration and other alternative methods of resolving disputes;
I will advise my client against pursuing litigation (or any other course of action) that is without merit and against insisting on tactics which are intended to delay the resolution of the matter or to harass or drain the financial resources of the opposing party;
I will advise my client that civility and courtesy are not to be equated with weakness;
While I must abide by my client’s decision concerning the objectives of the representation, I nevertheless will counsel my client that a willingness to initiate or engage in settlement discussions is consistent with zealous and effective representation.
WITH RESPECT TO OPPOSING PARTIES AND THEIR COUNSEL:
I will endeavor to be courteous and civil, both in oral and in written communication;
I will not knowingly make statements of fact or of law that are untrue;
In litigation proceedings I will agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time or for waiver of procedural formalities when the legitimate interests of my client will not be adversely affected;
I will endeavor to consult with opposing counsel before scheduling depositions and meetings and before re-scheduling hearings, and I will cooperate with opposing counsel when scheduling changes are requested;
I will refrain from utilizing litigation or any other course of conduct to harass the opposing party;
I will refrain from engaging in excessive and abusive discovery, and I will comply with all reasonable discovery requests;
I will refrain from utilizing delaying tactics;
In depositions and other proceedings, and in negotiations, I will conduct myself with dignity, avoid making groundless objections and refrain from engaging in acts of rudeness or disrespect;
I will not serve motions and pleadings on the other party, or the party’s counsel, at such a time or in such a manner as will unfairly limit the other party’s opportunity to respond;
In business transactions I will not quarrel over matters of form or style, but will concentrate on matters of substance and content;
I will clearly identify, for other counsel or parties, all changes that I have made in documents submitted to me for review.
WITH RESPECT TO THE COURTS AND OTHER TRIBUNALS:
I will be a vigorous and zealous advocate on behalf of my client, while recognizing, as an officer of the court, that excessive zeal may be detrimental to my client’s interests as well as to the proper functioning of our system of justice;
Where consistent with my client’s interests, I will communicate with opposing counsel in an effort to avoid litigation and to resolve litigation that has actually commenced;
I will voluntarily withdraw claims or defenses when it becomes apparent that they do not have merit or are superfluous;
I will refrain from filing frivolous motions;
I will make every effort to agree with other counsel, as early as possible, on a voluntary exchange of information and on a plan for discovery;
I will attempt to resolve, by agreement, my objections to matters contained in my opponent’s pleadings and discovery requests;
When scheduled hearings or depositions have to be canceled, I will notify opposing counsel, and, if appropriate, the court (or other tribunal) as early as possible;
Before dates for hearings or trials are set — or, if that is not feasible, immediately after such dates have been set — I will attempt to verify the availability of key participants and witnesses so that I can promptly notify the court (or other tribunal) and opposing counsel of any likely problem in that regard;
In civil matters, I will stipulate to facts as to which there is no genuine dispute;
10.I will endeavor to be punctual in attending court hearings, conferences and depositions;
I will at all times be candid with the court.
WITH RESPECT TO THE PUBLIC AND OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE:
I will remember that, in addition to commitment to my client’s cause, my responsibilities as a lawyer include a devotion to the public good;
I will endeavor to keep myself current in the areas in which I practice and, when necessary, will associate with, or refer my client to, counsel knowledgeable in another field of practice;
I will be mindful of the fact that, as a member of a self-regulating profession, it is incumbent on me to report violations by fellow lawyers of any disciplinary rule;
I will be mindful of the need to protect the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public and will be so guided when considering methods and contents of advertising;
I will be mindful that the law is a learned profession and that among its desirable goals are devotion to public service, improvement of administration of justice, and the contribution of uncompensated time and civic influence on behalf of those persons who cannot afford adequate legal assistance