The Ohio Supreme Court adopted “A Lawyer’s Creed” in 1997. The Creed includes a list of “A Lawyer’s Aspirational Ideals.” Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law, strives to practice in accordance with the Creed and strongly agrees with and supports it’s principles.
A Lawyer’s Creed
To our clients, we offer loyalty, confidentiality, competence, diligence, and our best judgment. We shall represent you as we should want to be represented and be worthy of your trust. We shall counsel you with respect to alternative methods to resolve disputes. We shall endeavor to achieve your lawful objectives as expeditiously and economically as possible.
To the opposing parties and their counsel, we offer fairness, integrity, and civility. We shall not knowingly make misleading or untrue statements of fact or law. We shall endeavor to consult with and cooperate with you in scheduling meetings, depositions, and hearings. We shall avoid excessive and abusive discovery. We shall attempt to resolve differences and, if we fail, we shall strive to make our dispute a dignified one.
To the courts and other tribunals, and to those who assist them, we offer respect, candor, and courtesy. Where consistent with my client’s interests, we shall communicate with opposing counsel in an effort to avoid or resolve litigation. We shall attempt to agree with other counsel on a voluntary exchange of information and on a plan for discovery. We shall do honor to the search for justice.
To our colleagues in the practice of law, we offer concern for your reputation and well-being. We shall extend to you the same courtesy, respect, candor, and dignity that we expect to be extended to us.
To the profession, we offer assistance in keeping it a calling in the spirit of public service, and in promoting its understanding and an appreciation for it by the public. We recognize that our actions and demeanor reflect upon our system of justice and our profession, and we shall conduct ourselves accordingly.
To the public and our system of justice, we offer service. We shall devote some of our time and skills to community, governmental and other activities that promote the common good. We shall strive to improve the law and our legal system and to make the law and our legal system available to all.
A Lawyer’s Aspirational Ideals
As to clients, we shall aspire:
(a) To expeditious and economical achievement of all client objectives.
(b) To fully informed client decision-making. We should:
(1) Counsel clients about all forms of dispute resolution;
(2) Counsel clients about the value of cooperation as a means toward the productive resolution of disputes;
(3) Maintain the sympathetic detachment that permits objective and independent advice to clients;
(4) Communicate promptly and clearly with clients; and
(5) Reach clear agreements with clients concerning the nature of the representation.
(c) To fair and equitable fee agreements. We should:
(1) Discuss alternative methods of charging fees with all clients;
(2) Offer fee arrangements that reflect the true value of the services rendered;
(3) Reach agreements respecting fees with clients as early in the relationship as possible;
(4) Determine the amount of fees by consideration of many factors and not just time spent; and
(5) Provide written agreements as to all fee arrangements.
(d) To comply with the obligations of confidentiality and the avoidance of conflicting loyalties in a manner designed to achieve fidelity to clients.
(e) To achieve and maintain a high level of competence in our field or fields of practice.
As to opposing parties and their counsel, we shall aspire:
(a) To cooperate with opposing counsel in a manner consistent with the competent representation of my client. We should:
(1) Notify opposing counsel in a timely fashion of any canceled appearance;
(2) Grant reasonable requests for extensions or scheduling changes; and
(3) Consult with opposing counsel in the scheduling of appearances, meetings, and depositions.
(b) To treat opposing counsel in a manner consistent with his or her professional obligations and consistent with the dignity of the search for justice. We should:
(1) Not serve motions or pleadings in such a manner or at such a time as to preclude opportunity for a competent response;
(2) Be courteous and civil in all communications;
(3) Respond promptly to all requests by opposing counsel;
(4) Avoid rudeness and other acts of disrespect in all meetings, including depositions and negotiations;
(5) Prepare documents that accurately reflect the agreement of all parties; and
(6) Clearly identify all changes made in documents submitted by opposing counsel for review.
As to the courts and other tribunals, and to those who assist them, we shall aspire:
(a) To represent our clients in a manner consistent with the proper functioning of a fair, efficient, and humane system of justice. We should:
(1) Avoid non-essential litigation and non-essential pleading in litigation;
(2) Explore the possibilities of settlement of all litigated matters;
(3) Seek non-coerced agreement between the parties on procedural and discovery matters;
(4) Avoid all delays not dictated by competent representation of a client;
(5) Prevent misuses of court time by verifying the availability of key participants for scheduled appearances before the court and by being punctual; and
(6) Advise clients about the obligations of civility, courtesy, fairness, cooperation, and other proper behavior expected of those who use our system of justice.
(b) To model for others the respect due to our courts. We should:
(1) Act with complete honesty;
(2) Know court rules and procedures;
(3) Give appropriate deference to court rulings;
(4) Avoid undue familiarity with members of the judiciary;
(5) Avoid unfounded, unsubstantiated, or unjustified public criticism of members of the judiciary;
(6) Show respect by attire and demeanor;
(7) Assist the judiciary in determining the applicable law; and
(8) Give recognition to the judiciary’s obligations of informed and impartial decision-making.
As to my colleagues in the practice of law, we shall aspire:
(a) To recognize and develop a professional interdependence for the benefit of our clients and the legal system;
(b) To defend you against unjust criticism; and
(c) To offer you assistance with your personal and professional needs.
As to our profession, we shall aspire:
(a) To improve the practice of law. We should:
(1) Assist in continuing legal education efforts;
(2) Assist in organized bar activities;
(3) Assist law schools in the education of our future lawyers; and
(4) Assist the judiciary in achieving objectives of A Lawyer’s Creed and these Aspirational Ideals.
(b) To promote the understanding of and an appreciation for our profession by the public. We should:
(1) Use appropriate opportunities, publicly and privately, to comment upon the roles of lawyers in society and government, as well as in our system of justice; and
(2) Conduct myself always with an awareness that my actions and demeanor reflect upon our profession.
(c) To devote some of my time and skills to community, governmental and other activities that promote the common good.
As to the public and our system of justice, we shall aspire:
(a) To consider the effect of our conduct on the image of our system of justice, including the effect of advertising methods.
(b) To help provide the pro bono representation that is necessary to make our system of justice available to all.
(c) To support organizations that provide pro bono representation to indigent clients.
(d) To promote equality for all persons.
(e) To improve our laws and legal system by, for example:
(1) Serving as a public official;
(2) Assisting in the education of the public concerning our laws and legal system;
(3) Commenting publicly upon our laws; and
(4) Using other appropriate methods of effecting positive change in our laws and legal system.
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