Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alabama Bar Pledge of Professionalism

There's been much discussion concerning attorney ethics, or lack thereof, in civil cases recently filed in Colbert County. We have also received several e-mails concerning a Florence attorney and problems in his practice. Most complaints that we receive are vague or libelous, and we answer these by providing the address of the Alabama Bar Association. Those who have legitimate problems with members of the bar should not hesitate to file a formal complaint.

We will admit to researching the Florence attorney out of curiosity. It seems he is one of only a few local lawyers who have signed the Alabama Bar Pledge of Professionalism. That sounds good, doesn't it? Have any idea what it is? We didn't.

Here for your reading enjoyment is the pledge:

I believe that our judicial system binds together the fabric of our democracy. I believe that, in order to maintain our judicial system, lawyers must maintain a high degree of professional courtesy and decorum. I believe that every lawyer has a professional duty to maintain a courteous and collegial atmosphere in the practice of law. I believe that a courteous and collegial atmosphere begins with me.

Therefore, I will

• never knowingly deceive another lawyer.

• honor promises and commitments made to another lawyer.

• make all reasonable efforts to schedule matters with opposing counsel by agreement.

• maintain a cordial and respectful relationship with opposing counsel.

• seek sanctions against opposing counsel only where required for the protection of my client and not for mere tactical advantage.

• not make unfounded accusations of unethical conduct about opposing counsel.

• never intentionally embarrass another lawyer and will avoid personal criticism of another lawyer.

• attempt to always be punctual.

• seek informal agreement in procedural and preliminary matters.

• recognize that advocacy does not include harassment.

• recognize that advocacy does not include needless delay.

• shake hands with the opposing counsel at the close of adversarial proceedings and will refrain from engaging in any conduct which engenders disrespect for the court, my adversary or the parties.

• be ever mindful that any motion, trial, court appearance, deposition, pleading or legal technicality costs someone time and money.

• never have ex parte communications with the court.

• stand to address the court, be courteous and not engage in recrimination with the court.

• dress in proper attire during any court proceeding, whether in the courtroom or chambers, to show proper respect for the court and the law.

• not become too closely associated with my client’s activities, or become emotionally involved with my client.

• 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.

There it is...we'll let you contemplate the ambiguities of that little masterpiece. Just FYI, if your attorney hasn't signed it yet, we doubt you should be too concerned. In fact, that just might be a plus in his or her column.

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The Shoals Chamber of Commerce is hosting an appreciation luncheon for Governor Bob Riley this Thursday, January 6, 2011, at 12:00 noon at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center. Tuesday at 12:00 noon is the last day to order a ticket for the meal. However, you do not have to have a ticket to come and thank Governor Riley for his service the last 8 years. It would be great to have a crowd to welcome and thank him for all of his hard work for the Shoals area and the state of Alabama.