Code Of Professionalism
BALTIMORE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
CODE OF PROFESSIONALISM
AS A MEMBER OF THE BALTIMORE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION, I RECOGNIZE THAT THE CONTINUED SUCCESS OF OUR NOBLE PROFESSION DEPENDS ON THE EXERCISE OF BASIC COURTESIES TO OTHERS. I, THEREFORE, PLEDGE TO ABIDE BY THE FOLLOWING CODE OF PROFESSIONALISM:
CIVILITY: I shall (1) conduct myself in a manner that enhances the public perception of law-yers; (2) strive to exemplify and promote the highest ideals of the legal profession; (3) be courte-ous in all professional relations; and (4) encourage courteous behavior in others.
PREPARATION: I shall be adequately prepared to represent my client on all occasions.
ZEAL AND COMMITMENT: I shall represent my client zealously and, after becoming thor-oughly knowledgeable concerning the facts of the matter and the applicable law, strive to achieve a desirable result as expeditiously and inexpensively as possible. In doing so, I shall ex-ercise independent professional judgment as to the merits of the issue and its appropriate resolu-tion. I will not permit my client’s ill will to interfere with the proper discharge of my obligations as an officer of the Court.
PUNCTUALITY: I shall be punctual in communicating with others. I shall return phone calls promptly. I will be prepared for all hearings, depositions, and other proceedings. I shall make best efforts to notify promptly all other persons affected by any delay that prevents me form ap-pearing on time.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN LAWYERS: I will be certain that others can rely on my word. I will always be courteous, candid and honest in my communications with other lawyers. I will observe all oral agreements I make and will memorialize those agreements promptly in or-der to avoid misunderstandings. I will not criticize counsel personally at any time. In negotia-tions, I will act courteously and in good faith. I will state information and proposals to other par-ties accurately and within the authority granted by my client. I will not quibble unnecessarily over style, but will focus on the substance of the matter at issue.
DEADLINES: (1) Before scheduling dates or imposing deadlines, I shall endeavor to accom-modate calendar conflicts resulting from previously scheduled hearings, depositions, meetings, conferences, vacations, seminars, or other functions. (2) I shall agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time and for waiver of procedural formalities when the legitimate interests of my client will not be materially or adversely affected. (3) I shall not request an extension of time solely for the purpose of unjustified delay or to obtain a tactical advantage. (4) I shall avoid last-minute cancellations or requests for extension of time except in cases of legitimate necessity. (5) I shall not make scheduling, filing or service decisions that unfairly limit another party’s oppor-tunity to prepare or respond. (6) I shall not impose arbitrary or unreasonable deadlines for ac-tions by others. (7) I shall notify other counsel at the earliest time when hearings, depositions, meetings, or conferences are to be cancelled or postponed.
COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE COURT: (1) I shall speak civilly to all court personnel. (2) I shall be mindful of time constraints when requesting hearings, and shall attempt to schedule lengthy proceedings well in advance. (3) I shall not attempt to alter the appearance of neutrality in my dealings with court personnel. (4) I shall promptly notify the court when cases have been settled. (5) I shall refrain from making unauthorized ex parte communications.
DISCOVERY: (1) I shall (a) limit my discovery requests to items that are necessary for the preparation and evaluation of my client’s case; (b) conduct discovery in a courteous and respect-ful manner; (c) conduct discovery without harassing or intimidating any person; and (d) volun-tarily withdraw any claim or defense that should be withdrawn as a result of information re-ceived during discovery. (2) I shall refrain from (a) interpreting the adverse party’s discovery requests in an artificially restrictive manner; (b) engaging in any conduct during a deposition that would be inappropriate in open court; (c) delaying my response to discovery requests; or (d) pro-ducing documents in a disorganized or unintelligible fashion, or in a way calculated to obscure a particular document.
NEGOTIATIONS: (1) I shall always encourage my client to explore the possibility of settle-ment as soon as enough is known about the case to make settlement discussions meaningful. (2) I shall always consider the issue of whether my client’s interest would be better served by alter-native methods of dispute resolution.
GENDER, RACIAL AND ETHNIC BIAS: In both my personal and professional life, I shall, at all times, refrain from engaging in conduct that creates the appearance of gender, racial or ethnic bias.