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DCBA Code of Professionalism
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DCBA Code of Professionalism


PREAMBLE Honor and integrity are the essence and an indispensable part of our profession. It is not enough to speak of honor or profess integrity. In the end, a personal commitment to honor and integrity must be established. Professionalism may no longer be relegated to a secondary topic and/or study that is then summarily filed away. We must acknowledge the responsibilities we have to society and each other. We as attorneys pledge to practice law in an honorable manner and devote ourselves to this Code of Professionalism and Civility.


  • Remember that my responsibilities include a devotion to the public good, respect for the civil rights and sensibilities of others, and a willingness to provide pro bono or reduced fee services where appropriate.
  • Exercise courtesy and civility in all communications and avoid rudeness and other acts of disrespect.
  • Avoid personal criticism of another lawyer.
  • Set a good example for and assist newer members of the bar.
  • Consider the effect of my conduct and deportment on the image of lawyers and the system of justice.
  • Counsel clients about alternative forms of dispute resolution where appropriate and available.
  • Avoid non-essential litigation and non-essential pleadings in litigation.
  • Communicate with opposing counsel in an effort to avoid litigation and to attempt to resolve litigation that has commenced.
  • Attempt to resolve by non-coerced agreement my objections to matters contained in my opponent’s pleadings and discovery requests.
  • Prevent misuses of court time by verifying the availability of key participants for scheduled appearances before the court.
  • Stipulate to facts in civil matters as to which there is no genuine dispute.
  • Speak or write courteously and respectfully in all communications with the court or tribunal and show my respect by my attire and demeanor.
  • Exercise candor with the court at all times and act with complete honesty.
  • Attempt to determine compatible dates with opposing counsel before scheduling motions, meetings, and depositions.
  • Avoid serving motions and pleadings in such a manner or at such a time as to harass opposing counsel or preclude an opportunity for a competent response.
  • Attempt to resolve any dispute with opposing counsel prior to filing any notice or scheduling any hearing.
  • Identify clearly all changes made in documents submitted to opposing counsel for review.
  • Respect the commitments of others by striving to always be punctual.
  • Remember that the conflict is between the clients and not the lawyers.
  • Respond promptly to all requests by opposing counsel.
  • Counsel clients about the value of cooperation and compromise in the resolution of disputes.
  • Advise clients against pursuing litigation or other actions that are without merit or intended merely to harass, delay, or exhaust the financial resources of the opposing party.
  • Reach clear agreements, preferably in writing, with clients concerning the nature of the representation and the fees to be charged.
  • Keep clients advised as to the progress of their matter and communicate promptly and clearly with clients.
  • Strive to achieve my client’s goals expeditiously, and at a reasonable fee.
  • Recognize that uncivil conduct does not advance and may compromise the rights of my clients.
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