The American legal system embodies our nation’s shared values of individual freedom, dignity, the right to due process, and equal protection under the law. As Lawyers, we are guardians for our legal system, and we have an important professional responsibility to recognize, honor, and enhance the rule of law. We are in a privileged position, and therefore, we work under special obligations. To forget or set aside these obligations is to dishonor our profession.
Professionalism encompasses a dedication to excellence in serving clients, a respect for the rule of law, the court and other lawyers, and commitment to seek a just result in all matters undertaken for clients. The practice of law must be service motivated rather than profit inspired. The morals of the marketplace are not sufficient for the practice of law. As a lawyer, I subscribe to the following Creed of Professionalism:
Individual Commitments to Professionalism:
My word is my bond. Integrity is an absolute. Fairness and civility are essential. Financial considerations will never override my professional responsibility.
To my clients, I offer loyalty, competence, diligence, and good judgment. I will represent you as I would want to be represented. I will provide timely information on all matters pertaining to your case. I will be worthy of your trust by providing vigorous advocacy, independent guidance, reasoned counseling, and fair value in services performed for fees paid. I will work to attain the highest level of knowledge and skill in the areas of law in which I practice.
To the public and our profession, I offer service. I will strive to improve the law and our legal system, and to make our legal system more accessible, responsive, and effective for all. I will contribute my time and resources to the Bar, public service, community, and civic activities. I will honor the requirements, the spirit, and the intent of the rules of professional conduct.
To my colleagues in the practice of law, I offer concern for your welfare. As we work together, I will respect your personal and family commitments. I will share my learning and experience so that we may all improve our skills and abilities.
To the courts and to those who assist them, I offer respect, candor, and courtesy. I will strive to do honor to the search for justice. I will serve as an officer of the court, encouraging respect for the law and avoiding the abuse or misuse of the law, its procedures, its participants, and the processes.
To opposing parties and their counsel, I offer honesty, fairness, and courtesy. I will seek truth and strive to make the resolution of our clients’ dispute in a dignified process. I will pursue the most efficient and least costly solutions to problems, avoiding delay, seeking reconciliation, and resolving disputes through negotiation or mediation whenever possible.
[Note: Portions of this Creed were adopted from “A Lawyer’s Creed” by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism for the Supreme Court of Georgia, “The Professional Creed” of the American Inns of Court, an essay by Edward Abbey published by Henry Holt & Company, the writings of Robert L. McMillan, the North Carolina Wake County Creed of Professionalism, and the Lawyer’s Professionalism Creed established by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, Chief Justice Henry Frye, Chairman.]