Guidelines of Professional Courtesy

In fulfilling his or her primary duties to the client, a lawyer must be ever conscious of the broader duty to the legal system and how it is perceived by the public. Effective representation does not require antagonistic or obnoxious behavior. Such behavior interferes with efficiency and degrades the profession. Lawyers should conform to the standard of professionalism that judges, fellow attorneys, clients, and the public may rightfully expect. Honor, respect, civility and courtesy are the hallmarks of professional behavior. With that in mind, the Maine State Bar Association has established the following guidelines. These are grounded in the standards that historically have been adhered to by Maine's finest lawyers. They should assist all lawyers in the pursuit of their common objective of representing their clients in a civil and effective way.

1. A lawyer should act with candor, diligence and utmost respect.

2. A lawyer should act with courtesy and cooperation, which are necessary for the efficient administration of our system of laws.

3. A lawyer should act with personal dignity and professional integrity.

4. Lawyers should treat each other, their clients, opposing parties, the courts, and members of the public with courtesy and civility and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.

5. A client has no right to demand that counsel abuse the opposite party or indulge in offensive conduct. A lawyer shall always treat adverse witnesses and parties in a professional manner.

6. In adversary proceedings, although ill feelings may exist between clients, such ill feelings should not influence a lawyer's conduct, attitude, or demeanor towards opposing lawyers or parties.

7. A lawyer should not harass opposing counsel or counsel's client.

8. Lawyers should be punctual in communications with others and in honoring scheduled appearances. Neglect and tardiness are demeaning to fellow lawyers and to the legal system.

9. If a fellow attorney makes a reasonable request for cooperation, or seeks a reasonable scheduling accommodation, a lawyer shall not arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent.