Professional Responsibility Code

The Professional Relations Committee (PRC) has received the endorsement of The Lawyer’s Pledge by the following groups and associations of attorneys: Santa Cruz County Bar Association, Santa Cruz County Trial Lawyers Association, Lawyers De Novo (SCCBA Subsection), Family Law Bar, Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County, Criminal Defense Bar, District Attorney’s Office, Civil Defense Bar, and Environmental Law Bar (SCCBA Subsection). These groups and associations subscribe to the standards of civility and professionalism first developed by the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (ASCDC).

Lawyer’s Pledge
Judge’s Pledge

The Lawyer’s Pledge

In order to raise the standards of civility and professionalism among counsel and between the Bench and the Bar, I hereby pledge the following:

  1. To at all times comply with the California Rules of Professional Conduct;
  2. To honor all commitments;
  3. To be candid in all dealings with the court and counsel;
  4. To uphold the integrity of our system of justice and not compromise personal integrity for the sake of a client, case or cause;
  5. To seek to accomplish the client’s legitimate goals by the most efficient and economical methods possible;
  6. To act in a professional manner at all times, to be guided by a fundamental sense of fair play in all dealings with counsel and the court, and to be courteous and respectful to the court;
  7. To be on time;
  8. To be prepared for all court appearances – to be familiar with all applicable court rules;
  9. To adhere to the time deadlines set by statute, rule, or order;
  10. To avoid visual displays of pique in response to rulings by the court;
  11. To discourage and decline to participate in litigation or tactics that are without merit or are designed primarily to harass or drain the financial resources of the opposing party;
  12. To avoid any communications with the judge concerning a pending case unless the opposing party or lawyer is present, or unless permitted by court rules or otherwise authorized by law;
  13. To refrain from impugning the integrity of the judicial system, its proceedings, or its members;
  14. To treat all court personnel with the utmost civility and professionalism;
  15. To remember that conflicts with opposing counsel are professional and not personal – vigorous advocacy is not inconsistent with professional courtesy;
  16. To refrain from derogatory statements or discriminatory conduct on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other personal characteristic;
  17. To treat adverse witnesses and litigants with fairness and due consideration;
  18. To conduct discovery proceedings as if a judicial officer were present;
  19. To meet and confer with opposing counsel in a genuine attempt to resolve procedural and discovery matters;
  20. To not use discovery to harass the opposition or for any other improper purpose;
  21. To not arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent to a just and reasonable request for cooperation or accommodation;
  22. To not attribute to an opponent a position not clearly taken by that opponent;
  23. To avoid unnecessary “confirming” letters and to be scrupulously accurate when making any written confirmation of conversations or events;
  24. To not propose any stipulation in the presence of the trier of fact unless previously agreed to by the opponent;
  25. To not interrupt an opponent’s legal argument;
  26. To address opposing counsel, when in court, only through the court;
  27. To not seek sanctions against or disqualification of another lawyer to attain a tactical advantage or for any other improper purpose;
  28. To not schedule the service of papers to deliberately inconvenience opposing counsel;
  29. To refrain, except in extraordinary circumstances, from using the fax machine to demand immediate responses from opposing counsel.


The Judge’s Pledge

In conjunction with The Lawyer’s Pledge, the Judges of the Santa Cruz County Trial Courts have endorsed and subscribe to the standards of civility and professionalism first developed by the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (ASCDC).

As a member of the judiciary who desires to improve relations among counsel and between the Bench and the Bar, I pledge as follows:

  1. To be courteous, respectful and civil to the attorneys, parties, and witnesses who appear before the court;
  2. To exercise my authority to ensure that all the attorneys, parties, and witnesses conduct themselves in a civil manner;
  3. To refrain from any conduct or statement which discriminates on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other personal characteristic of attorneys, parties, or witnesses;
  4. To instruct all court personnel to act civilly toward attorneys, parties, and witnesses;
  5. To refrain from the use of abusive, demeaning or humiliating language and opinions in oral or written communication with attorneys, parties, and witnesses;
  6. To be punctual in covering all hearings, meetings, and conferences;
  7. To give full consideration to the papers and arguments presented by counsel
  8. To make a reasonable effort to decide promptly all matters presented for decision;
  9. To be aware of the time restraints and pressures imposed upon attorneys by the exigencies of litigation practice, while nevertheless endeavoring to resolve disputes efficiently;
  10. To make every effort to adhere to the statutes and court rules which are intended to establish uniformity among all of the courts;
  11. To consider the legitimate calendaring conflicts of attorneys, parties, and witnesses in the administration of those matters before the court;
  12. To avoid conduct which would give an appearance of favoritism to any particular counsel or party;
  13. To be mindful that the court is the servant of the people and its purpose is the administration of justice.