Code of Professional Courtesy
The following Code of Professional Courtesy is intended as a guideline for lawyers in their dealings with their clients, opposing parties and their counsel, the courts and the general public. This Code is not intended as a disciplinary code nor is it to be construed as a legal standard of care in providing professional services.
- A lawyer should never knowingly deceive another lawyer.
- A lawyer must honor promises and commitments made to another lawyer.
- A lawyer should make all reasonable efforts to schedule matters with opposing counsel by agreement.
- A lawyer should maintain a cordial and respectful relationship with opposing counsel.
- A lawyer should seek sanctions against opposing counsel only where required for the protection of the client and not for mere tactical advantage.
- A lawyer should not make unfounded accusations of unethical conduct about opposing counsel.
- A lawyer should never intentionally embarrass another lawyer and should avoid personal criticism of another lawyer.
- A lawyer should always be punctual.
- A lawyer should seek informal agreement on procedural and preliminary matters.
- When each adversary proceeding ends, a lawyer should shake hands with the fellow lawyer who is the adversary; and the losing lawyer should refrain from engaging in any conduct which engenders disrespect for the court, the adversary or the parties.
- A lawyer should recognize that adversaries should communicate to avoid litigation and remember their obligation to be courteous to each other.
- A lawyer should recognize that advocacy does not include harassment
- A lawyer should recognize that advocacy does not include needless delay.
- A lawyer should be ever mindful that any motion, trial, court appearance, deposition, pleading or legal technicality costs someone time and money.
- A lawyer should believe that only attorneys, and not secretaries, paralegals, investigators or other non-lawyers, should communicate with a judge or appear before the judge on substantive matters. These non-lawyers should not place themselves inside the bar in the courtroom unless permission to do so is granted by the judge then presiding.
- A lawyer should stand to address the court, be courteous and not engage in recrimination with the court.
- During any court proceeding, whether in the courtroom or chambers, a lawyer should dress in proper attire to show proper respect for the court and the law.
- A lawyer should not become too closely associated with a client’s activities, or emotionally involved with a client.
- A lawyer should always remember that the purpose of the practice of law is neither an opportunity to make outrageous demands upon vulnerable opponents nor blind resistance to a just claim; being stubbornly litigious for a plaintiff or a defendant is not professional.
(Approved by the Alabama Board of Bar Commissioners on 4/10/92)