Lawyer's Principles of Professionalism

The Lawyers' Principles of Professionalism were approved by the Connecticut Bar Association House of Delegates on October 19, 2020.

As a lawyer, I have dedicated myself to making our system of justice work fairly and efficiently for all. I am an officer of this Court and recognize the obligation I have to advance the rule of law and preserve and foster the integrity of the legal system. To this end, I commit myself not only to observe the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct, but also conduct myself in accordance with the following Principles of Professionalism when dealing with my clients, opposing parties, fellow counsel, self-represented parties, the Courts, and the general public. 
Nothing in these Principles shall supersede, supplement, or in any way amend the Rules of Professional Conduct, alter existing standards of conduct against which a lawyer’s conduct might be judged, or become a basis for the imposition of any civil, criminal or professional liability.
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Civility and courtesy are the hallmarks of professionalism. As such,
  • I will be courteous, polite, respectful, and civil, both in oral and in written communications;
  • I will refrain from using litigation or any other legal procedure to harass an opposing party;
  • I will not impute improper motives to my adversary unless clearly justified by the facts and essential to resolution of the issue;
  • I will treat the representation of a client as the client’s transaction or dispute and not as a dispute with my adversary;
  • I will respond to all communications timely and respectfully and allow my adversary a reasonable time to respond;
  • I will avoid making groundless objections in the discovery process and work cooperatively to resolve those that are asserted with merit;
  • I will agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time and for waiver of procedural formalities when the legitimate interests of my client will not be adversely affected;
  • I will try to consult with my adversary before scheduling depositions, meetings, or hearings, and I will cooperate with her when schedule changes are requested;
  • When scheduled meetings, hearings, or depositions have to be canceled, I will notify my adversary and, if appropriate, the Court (or other tribunal) as early as possible and enlist their involvement in rescheduling; and
  • I will not serve motions and pleadings at such time or in such manner as will unfairly limit the other party’s opportunity to respond.
Honesty and truthfulness are critical to the integrity of the legal profession – they are core values that must be observed at all times and they go hand in hand with my fiduciary duty. As such,
  • I will not knowingly make untrue statements of fact or of law to my client, adversary or the Court;
  • I will honor my word;
  • I will not maintain or assist in maintaining any cause of action or advancing any position that is false or unlawful;
  • I will withdraw voluntarily claims, defenses, or arguments when it becomes apparent that they do not have merit or are superfluous;
  • I will not file frivolous motions or advance frivolous positions;
  • When engaged in a transaction, I will make sure all involved are aware of changes I make to documents and not conceal changes.
Having the necessary ability, knowledge, and skill to effectively advise and advocate for a client’s interests is critical to the lawyer’s function in their community. As such,
  • I will keep myself current in the areas in which I practice, and, will associate with, or refer my client to, counsel knowledgeable in another field of practice when necessary;
  • I will maintain proficiency in those technological advances that are necessary for me to competently represent my clients.
  • I will seek mentoring and guidance throughout my career in order to ensure that I act with diligence and competency.
I recognize that my client’s interests and the administration of justice in general are best served when I work responsibly, effectively, and cooperatively with those with whom I interact. As such,
  • Before dates for hearings or trials are set, or if that is not feasible, immediately after such dates have been set, I will attempt to verify the availability of key participants and witnesses so that I can promptly notify the Court (or other tribunal) and my adversary of any likely problem;
  • I will make every effort to agree with my adversary, as early as possible, on a voluntary exchange of information and on a plan for discovery;
  • I will attempt to resolve, by agreement, my objections to matters contained in my opponent's pleadings and discovery requests;
  • I will be punctual in attending Court hearings, conferences, meetings, and depositions;
  • I will refrain from excessive and abusive discovery, and I will comply with all reasonable discovery requests;
  • In civil matters, I will stipulate to facts as to which there is no genuine dispute;
  • I will refrain from causing unreasonable delays;
  • Where consistent with my client's interests, I will communicate with my adversary in an effort to avoid needless controversial litigation and to resolve litigation that has actually commenced;
  • While I must consider my client’s decision concerning the objectives of the representation, I nevertheless will counsel my client that a willingness to initiate or engage in settlement discussions is consistent with zealous and effective representation.
I owe a duty to the legal profession to counsel less experienced lawyers on the practice of the law and these Principles, and to seek mentoring myself. As such,
  • I will exemplify through my behavior and teach through my words the importance of collegiality and ethical and civil behavior;
  • I will emphasize the importance of providing clients with a high standard of representation through competency and the exercise of sound judgment;
  • I will stress the role of our profession as a public service, to building and fostering the rule of law;
  • I will welcome requests for guidance and advice.
I recognize the honor of the legal profession and will always act in a manner consistent with the respect, courtesy, and weight that it deserves. As such,
  • I will be guided by what is best for my client and the interests of justice, not what advances my own financial interests;
  • I will be a vigorous and zealous advocate on behalf of my client, but I recognize that, as an officer of the Court, excessive zeal may be detrimental to the interests of a properly functioning system of justice;
  • I will remember that, in addition to commitment to my client's cause, my responsibilities as a lawyer include a devotion to the public good;
  • I will, as a member of a self-regulating profession, report violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct as required by those rules;
  • I will protect the image of the legal profession in my daily activities and in the ways I communicate with the public;
  • I will be mindful that the law is a learned profession and that among its desirable goals are devotion to public service, improvement of administration of justice, and the contribution of uncompensated time and civic influence on behalf of those persons who cannot afford adequate legal assistance; and
  • I will support and advocate for fair and equal treatment under the law for all persons, regardless of race, color, ancestry, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, status as a veteran, age, gender identity, gender expression or marital status, sexual orientation, or creed and will always conduct myself in such a way as to promote equality and justice for all.