We all know some lawyers who give the profession a bad name, such as those lawyers who fire off a letter after a conversation that contains blatant misrepresentations, those who can’t agree on the time of day and those who make every case unnecessarily difficult to resolve.
As of May 23, 2014, all incoming attorneys must promise to strive to conduct themselves at all times with “dignity, courtesy and integrity.” This requirement was enacted by the California Supreme Court due to what was perceived as a decrease in civility in the profession. Many of you will say it’s about time!
Being civil is important for a number of reasons, one of which is that we are not serving our client’s interests when we waste our client’s time and assets. Being civil is not a sign of weakness. Some of the best lawyers I have ever met were those who kept their cool and, accordingly, their client’s interests in mind. It will be interesting to see if this new oath and increased awareness of the need for civility will make any difference.