The rules of professional conduct are put in place for lawyers of all stripes to make sure that they act in an ethical and fair way. They are to make sure that lawyers serve their duty in a manner that is in accordance with the professionalism expected of them by their peers and by their clients. California professional rules of conduct provide a guiding light for lawyers: it's a general set of rules that has been extrapolated on over the years so that lawyers understand stand basic rules to follow.
Of course, as all living documents go, the rules of professional conduct change through time.
Rules of professional conduct California: in-depth
We've given you a brief overview of the CA rules of professional conduct, but now we should take a closer look at them. By understanding the rules already on the books, you'll be able to make better sense of the new California rules of professional conduct.
1. Responsibility to the public
This guideline is put in place to remind lawyers, who have spent so much time learning the law for their specific profession and region, that above anything else, their responsibility is to the public. Among those responsibilities includes respect for public service, the intent to improve upon the administration of justice, and working with those who are unable to afford legal assistance.
2. Responsibility to the client
Lawyers are expected to work with their clients in an ethical way and to achieve their objectives in a timely, economical, and professional manner.
Lawsuits can take a long time, so scheduling is important. Lawyers should always have the resources needed when they are expected to have them. This includes documents and witnesses. On a related note, lawyers are expected to grant reasonable requests for extensions by the opposing party.
4. Serving papers
We've seen in the scenes of the movie where people are served papers while at work, or in other embarrassing situations. However, based on rules of professional conduct, papers should be served in a way that does not disadvantage or embarrass the opposing party.
This rule of professional conduct is basically an extension of scheduling. It says that a lawyer should be punctual in communication and in showing up to scheduled appearances.
Writings submitted to the court are expected to be factual, concise, and fairly state the lawyer's position without unfairly discrediting the opposing party.
7. Communication with the opposition
Communication with the opposing party is expected to be courteous whether it is in person or in writing.
Discovery is to be conducted in a way that is timely, economical and will reach a just conclusion to the case. During discovery, lawyers should be aware of factors that could get in the way of a timely procedure, such as geographic factors or language barriers.
Motions should only ever be filed in good faith.
10. Non-party witnesses
When dealing with a non-party witness, a lawyer should display the highest level of respect for the legal profession and for the non-party witness. Non-party witnesses should be treated in a civil manner where they won't leave the hearing with a lower opinion on the legal profession.
Before a case is set to begin, lawyers should always seek a settlement before going to court. This saves all parties involved both time and money.
12. In trial behavior
During a trial, lawyers are to behave in a way that is befitting of the legal profession, assist the court in the case, and display respect for the judicial system.
13. Social relationships
Lawyers should always leave relationships at the door when going to court. Even the appearance of bias on one end can look bad in a trial setting.
All dealings with party and non-party should be carried out with the utmost respect for privacy.
Any changes made to any legal documents are required to be redlined so that the court and opposing parties can see all versions of written text.
New rules of professional conduct California
The new rules implemented this year are in regard to:
- No harassment or discrimination
- Nuances when it comes to state and federal law regarding cannabis
- Implements a rule against having sex with clients
If you want to learn more about the rules of professional conduct, please contact Krogh & Decker today.