Civility Code of the San Bernardino County Bar Association and
The Hon. Joseph B. Campbell American Inn of Court
Attorneys who regularly practice in the County of San Bernardino have long enjoyed a level of mutual respect and common courtesy in their professional interaction. The San Bernardino County Bar Association and the Honorable Joseph B. Campbell American Inn of Court support all efforts to raise the consciousness of attorneys with a goal of maintaining a high level of civility and professionalism. To that end it was resolved to promulgate this Civility Code. These standards should not be used as a basis for litigation or for sanctions or penalties. Nothing in these standards supersedes or detracts from the Code of Professional Responsibility or other standards of conduct.
Duties to the Client
- We will promptly return telephone calls, electronic mail, or correspondence from the client.
- We will make a reasonable effort to advise the client of the estimated fees and costs of a matter, time to conclusion, and potential outcome of a matter.
- We will periodically advise the client as to the status of the matter and immediately advise the client of any significant changes in the status or potential outcome.
Duties to Other Counsel
- We will practice our profession with a continuing awareness that our role is to advance the legitimate interests of our clients. In our dealings with others, we will not reflect the ill feelings of our clients. We will treat all other counsel, parties, and witnesses in a civil and courteous manner, not only in court, but also in all other written and oral communications. We will promptly respond to telephone calls and letters of opposing counsel.
- We will not abuse or indulge in offensive conduct directed to other counsel, parties or witnesses. We will abstain from disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward other counsel, parties, or witnesses. We will treat adverse witnesses and parties with fair consideration.
- We will not attribute bad motives or improper conduct to other counsel or make unfounded accusations of impropriety.
- We will not seek court sanctions without first conducting a reasonable investigation and unless fully justified by the circumstances and necessary to protect our clients' lawful interests. We should always contact opposing counsel and make a good faith effort to resolve the issue before bringing such a matter before the court.
- We will adhere to all promises and agreements with other counsel, whether oral or in writing.
- We will base our discovery objections on a good faith belief in their merit and will not object solely for the purpose of withholding or delaying the disclosure of relevant information. We will make good faith efforts to resolve discovery objections informally without resort to the court. We will not use any form of discovery, the scheduling of discovery, or any other part of the discovery process as a means of harassing opposing counsel or the opposing parties or as a means of delaying the timely, efficient and cost- effective resolution of a case.
- We will extend courtesy to other counsel in scheduling dates for depositions, hearings, and trials as well as granting reasonable requests for extensions of time and continuances.
- We will not engage in any conduct during a deposition that would not be appropriate in the presence of a Judge.
- We will make objections during a trial or hearing only for legitimate and good faith reasons.
- Unless specifically permitted or invited by the court, we will not send copies of correspondence between counsel to the court.
- We will refrain from employing the time or manner of serving papers to disadvantage or embarrass the party receiving those papers.
Duties to the Court
- We will be punctual and prepared for all court appearances so that all hearings, conferences, and trials may commence on time; if delayed, we will notify the court and counsel, if possible.
- We will be considerate of the court in its efforts to administer justice.
- We will not engage in any conduct that brings disorder or disruption to the courtroom. We will advise our clients and witnesses appearing in court of the proper conduct expected and required there and prevent our clients and witnesses from creating disorder or disruption.
- We will not knowingly misrepresent, improperly characterize, misquote, or improperly cite facts or authorities in any oral or written communication to the court.
- We will act and speak with civility to bailiffs, clerks, court reporters, secretaries, law clerks, and all other court personnel.
- We will avoid ex parte communications on a pending case with a Judge or a Judge's researcher before whom such cases will be presented.
- We will avoid the appearance of impropriety or bias with a Judge before whom a matter is pending.