Working Rules for Professionalism
Provided by the Pennsylvania Bar Association:
The practice of law is a profession, a genuine calling inspirited with service to the system of justice, not a common business enterprise.
The quality of the profession is only as worthy as the character of the people who practice it.
Self-esteem, shared respect for each other, the clients we serve, the judges and the officers with whom we work, are essential to it.
Civility is a virtue, not a shortcoming. Willingness to temper zeal with respect for society's interest in preserving responsible judicial process with help to preserve it.
Unwritten rules of professional courtesy have long sustained us. Since they are sometimes forgotten, or sometimes ignored, we should set them down again and
conscientiously observe them.
- Treat with civility the lawyers, clients, opposing parties, the Court, and all the officials with whom we work. Professional courtesy is compatible with vigorous advocacy and zealous representation.
Communications are lifelines. Keep the lines open. Telephone calls and correspondence are a two-way channel: respond to them promptly.
- Respect other lawyers' schedules as your own. Seek agreement on meetings, depositions, hearings and trial dates. A reasonable request for a scheduling accommodation should never be unreasonably refused.
Be punctual in appointments, communications and in honoring scheduled appearances. Neglect and tardiness are demeaning to others and to the judicial system.
- Procedural rules are necessary to judicial order and decorum. Be mindful that pleadings, discovery processes and motions cost time and money. They should not be heedlessly used. If an adversary is entitled to something, provide it without unnecessary formalities.
Grant extensions of time when they are reasonable and when they will not have a material, adverse effect on your client's interest.
- Resolve differences through negotiation, expeditiously and without needless expense.
- Enjoy what you are doing and the company you keep. You and the world will be better for it.
Beyond all this, the respect of our peers and the society which we serve is the ultimate measure of responsible professional conduct.
Much thanks to the drafters of these rules, the PBA Professionalism Committee.