Code of Professionalism

BALTIMORE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
CODE OF PROFESSIONALISM

PREAMBLE

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.