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measure of public esteem and confidence which belongs to the proper discharge of its duties than does the false claim, often set up by the unscrupulous in defense of questionable transactions, that it is the duty of the lawyer to do whatever may enable him to succeed in winning his client's cause.
It is improper for a lawyer to assert in argument his personal belief in his client's innocence or in the justice of his cause.
The lawyer owes "entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability,” to the end that nothing be taken or be withheld from him, save by the rules of law, legally applied. No fear of judicial disfavor or public unpopularity should restrain him from the full discharge of his duty. In the judicial forum the client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law of the land, and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense. But it is steadfastly to be borne in mind that the great trust of the lawyer is to be performed within and not without the bounds of the law. The office of attorney does not permit, much less does it demand of him for any client, violation of law or any manner of fraud or chicane. He must obey his own conscience, and not that of his client.
16. Restraining Clients from Improprieties. A lawyer should use his best efforts to restrain and to prevent his clients from doing those things which the lawyer himself ought not to do, particularly with reference to their conduct towards Courts, judicial officers, jurors, witnesses and suitors. If a client persists in such wrong-doing the lawyer should terminate their relation.
17. Ill Feeling and Personalities Between Advocates. Clients, not lawyers, are the litigants. Whatever may be the ill-feeling existing between clients, it should not be allowed to influence counsel in their conduct and demeanor toward each other or toward suitors in the case. All personalities between counsel should be scrupulously avoided. In the trial of a cause it is indecent to allude to the personal history or the personal peculiarities and idiosyncracies of counsel on the other side. Personal colloquies between counsel which cause delay and promote unseemly wrangling should also be carefully avoided.
18. Treatment of Witnesses and Litigants. A lawyer should always treat adverse witnesses and suitors with fairness and due consideration, and he should never minister to the malevolence or prejudices of a client in the trial or conduct of a cause. The client cannot be made the keeper of the lawyer's conscience in professional matters. He has no right to demand that his counsel shall abuse the opposite party or indulge in offensive personalities. Improper speech is not excusable on the ground that it is what the client would say if speaking in his own behalf.
19. Appearance of Lawyer as Witness for His Client. When a lawyer is a witness for his client, except as to merely formal matters, such as the attestation or custody of an instrument and the like, he should leave the trial of the case to other counsel. Except when essential to the ends of justice, a lawyer should avoid testifying in Court in behalf of his client.
20. Newspaper Discussion of Pending Litigation. Newspaper publications by a lawyer as to pending or anticipated litigation may interfere with a fair trial in the Courts and otherwise prejudice the due administration of justice. Generally they are to be condemned. If the extreme circumstances of a particular case justify a statement to the public, it is unprofessional to make it anonymously. An ex parte reference to the facts should not go beyond quotation from the records and papers on file in the Court; but even in extreme cases it is better to avoid any ex parte statement.
21. Punctuality and Expedition. It is the duty of the lawyer, not only to his client, but also to the Courts and to the public, to be punctual in attendance, and to be concise and direct in the trial and disposition of causes.
22. Candor and Fairness. The conduct of the lawyer before the Court and with other lawyers should be characterized by candor and fairness.
It is not candid or fair for the lawyer knowingly to misquote the contents of a paper, the testimony of a witness, the language or the argument of opposing counsel, or the language of a decision or a textbook, or, with knowledge of its invalidity, to cite as authority a decision that has been overruled, or a statute that has been repealed, or, in argument, to assert as a fact that which has not been proved, or, in those jurisdictions where a side has the opening and closing arguments, to mislead his opponent by concealing or withholding positions in his opening argument upon which his side then intends to rely.
It is unprofessional and dishonorable to deal other than candidly with the facts in taking the statements of witnesses, in drawing affidavits and other documents, and in the presentation of causes.
A lawyer should not offer evidence which he knows the Court should reject in order to get the same before the jury by argument for its admissibility, nor should he address to the Judge arguments upon any point not properly calling for determination by him. Neither should he introduce into an argument, addressed to the Court, remarks or statements intended to influence the jury or bystanders.
These and all kindred practices are unprofessional and unworthy of an officer of the law, charged, as is the lawyer, with the duty of aiding in the administration of justice.
23. Attitude Toward Jury. All attempt to curry favor with juries by fawning, flattery or pretended solicitude for their personal comfort are unprofessional. Suggestion of counsel, looking to the comfort or convenience of jurors, and propositions to dispense with argument, should be made to the Court out of the jury's hearing. A lawyer must never converse privately with jurors about the case, and, both before and during the trial, he should avoid communicating with them, even as to matters foreign to the cause.
24. Right of Lawyer to Control the Incidents of the Trial. As to incidental matters pending the trial, not affecting the merits of the cause, or working substantial prejudice to the rights of the client, such as foreing the opposite lawyer to trial when he is under affliction or bereavement; forcing the trial on a particular day to the injury of the opposite lawyer when no harm will result from a trial at a different time; agreeing to an extension of time for signing a bill of exceptions, cross interrogatories and the like, the lawyer must be allowed to judge. In such matters no client has a right to demand that his counsel shall be illiberal, or that he do anything therein repugnant to his own sense of honor and propriety.
25. Taking Technical Advantage of Opposite Counsel; Agreements With Him. A lawyer should not ignore known customs or practice of the Bar or of a particular Court, even when the law permits, without giving timely notice to the opposing counsel. As far as possible, important agreements, affecting the rights of clients, should be reduced to writing; but it is dishonorable to avoid performance of an agreement fairly made because it is not reduced to writing, as required by rules of Court.
26. Professional Advocacy Other Than Before Courts. A lawyer openly, and in his true character, may render professional services before legislative or other bodies regarding proposed legislation and in advocacy of claims before departments of government, upon the same principles of ethics which justify his appearance before the Courts; but it is unprofessional for a lawyer so engaged to conceal his attorneyship, or to employ secret personal solicitations, or to use means other than those addressed to the reason and understanding to influence action.
27. Advertising, Direct or Indirect. The most worthy and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, and especially with his brother lawyers, is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity and trust. This cannot be forced, but must be the outcome of character and conduct. The publication or circulation of ordinary simple business cards, being a matter of personal taste or local custom, and sometimes of convenience, is not per se improper. But solicitation of business by circulars or advertisements, or by personal communication or interviews, not warranted by personal relations, is unprofessional. It is equally unprofessional to procure business by indirection through touters of any kind, whether allied real estate firms or trust companies advertising to secure the drawing of deeds or wills, or offering retainers in exchange for executorships or trusteeships to be influenced by the lawyer. In direct advertisement for business by furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments concerning causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged, or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interests involved, the importance of the lawyer's positions, and all other like self-laudation, defy the traditions and lower the tone of our high calling, and are intolerable.
28. Stirring Up Litigation, Directly or Through Agents. It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a lawsuit, except in rare cases, where ties of blood, relationship or trust make it his duty to do so. Stirring up strife and litigation is not only unprcfessional, but it is indictable at common law. It is disreputable to hunt up defects in titles or other causes of action and inform thereof in order to be employed to bring suit, or to breed litigation by seeking out those with claims for personal injuries or those having any other grounds of action in order to secure them as clients, or to employ agents or runners for like purposes, or to pay or reward, directly or indirectly, those who bring or influence the bringing of such cases to his office, or to remunerate policemen, court or prison officials, physicians, hospital attaches or others who may succeed, under the guise of giving disinterested friendly advice, in influencing the criminal, the sick and the injured, the ignorant or others, to seek his professional services. A duty to the public and to the profession devolve upon every member of the Bar, having knowledge of such practices upon the part of any practitioner, immediately to inform thereof, to the end that the offender may be disbarred.
29. Upholding the Honor of the Profession. Lawyers should expose, without fear or favor, before the proper tribunals, corrupt or dishonest conduct in the profession, and should accept without hesitation employment against a member of the Bar who has wronged his client. The counsel, upon the trial of a cause in which perjury has been committed, owe it to the profession and to the public to bring the matter to the knowledge of the prosecuting authorities. The lawyer should aid in guarding the Bar against the admission to the profession of candidates unfit or unqualified because deficient in either moral character or education. He should strive at all times to uphold the honor and to maintain the dignity of the profession, and to improve, not only the law, but the administration of justice.
30. Justifiable and Unjustifiable Litigations. The lawyer must decline to conduct a civil cause or to make a defense when convinced that it is intended merely to harass or to injure the opposite party or to work oppression or wrong.
But otherwise it is his right, and, having accepted retainer, it becomes his duty to insist upon the judgment of the Court as to the legal merits of his client's claim. His appearance in Court should be deemed equivalent to an assertion on his honor that in his opinion his client's case is one proper for judicial determination.
31. Responsibility for Litigation. No lawyer is obliged to act, either as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become his client. He has the right to decline employment. Every lawyer, upon his own responsibility, must decide what business he will accept as counsel, what causes he will bring into Court for plaintiffs, what cases he will contest in Court for defendants. The responsibility for advising questionable transactions, for bringing questionable suits, for urging questionable defenses, is the lawyer's responsibility. He cannot escape it by urging as an excuse that he is only following his client's instructions.
32. The Lawyer's Duty in Its Last Analysis. No client, corporate or individual, however powerful, nor any cause, civil or political, however important, is entitled to receive, nor should any lawyer render, any service or advice involving disloyalty to the law, whose ministers we are or disrespect to the judicial office, which we are bound to uphold, or corruption of any person or persons exercising a public office or privte trust, or deception or betrayal of the public. When rendering any such improper service or advice, the lawyer invites and merits stern and just condemnation. Correspondingly, he advances the honor of his profession and the best interests of his clients when he tenders services or gives advice tending to impress upon the client and his undertaking exact compliance with the strictest principles of moral law. He must also observe, and advise his client to observe, the statute law, though until a statute shall have been construed and interpreted by competent adjudication he is free and is entitled to advise as to its validity and as to what he conscientionsly believes to be its just meaning and extent. But, above all, a lawyer will find his highest honor in a deserved reputation for fidelity to private trust and to public duty, as an honest man and a patriotic and loyal citizen.
OATH OF ADMISSION.
The general principles which should ever control the lawyer in the practice of his profession are clearly set forth in the following Oath of Admission to the Bar, formulated upon that in use in the State of Washington, and which conforms in its main outlines to the "duties" of lawyers as defined by statutory enactments in that and many other States of the Union* duties which they are sworn on admission to obey and for the wilful violation of which disbarment is provided :
I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR:
I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of
I will maintain the respect due to Courts of Justice and judicial officers.