Aside from years of rigorous legal study and passing the infamously difficult California Bar Exam, new lawyers in the state are always required to take an oath. This pledge is essentially a promise to uphold certain duties. These duties include:
- Supporting the laws of the United States, the state, and the Constitution;
- Maintaining the respect of the courts and judicial officers;
- Responding promptly to clients’ requests and keeping them informed;
- Never rejecting the needs of the defenseless or the oppressed; and
- Faithfully upholding the duties of an attorney to the best of his or her knowledge and ability.1
These are just some of the many duties new California attorneys pledge to carry out. The California Supreme Court recently approved the addition of “behaving with dignity, courtesy, and integrity” to the oath. The new addition to the oath will take effect starting May 23. 2
The updated oath comes at a time of increased incivility in the legal profession, according to former state bar president Patrick Kelly.
Kelly was one of the first to call for the oath to be updated with these new terms. He felt that too many attorneys had been behaving disrespectfully towards other attorneys. For example, he had personally witnessed attorneys refusing to grant the other side extensions for no good reason, and even bullying judges. 3
Of course, all attorneys should behave with dignity and professionalism in their practice. However, the new wording will be a reminder to all new California attorneys that this type of behavior is absolutely necessary. Now the oath in California will include:
“As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy, and integrity.” 4
The attorneys at Wallin and Klarich have a 30-year history of behaving with courtesy and dignity. Our clients have routinely expressed the utmost satisfaction and appreciation for helping them through what is often a difficult and stressful legal process. More importantly, our standard of care allows us to develop positive relationships with other attorneys and judges throughout Southern California. Often, these are key to a winning legal strategy.
Wallin and Klarich Wants to Hear Your Opinion
At Wallin and Klarich, we value the opinion of our clients, as well as our readers. Tell us what you think of this new addition to the California oath of attorneys.