Attorney's Civility Code

As to Communications with Clients and Adversaries

We will at all times be civil, courteous and accurate in communication with clients and adversaries, whether in writing or orally. We will not fail or refuse, without justifications, to promptly respond to the phone calls and letters of our clients and/or opposing counsel.


As to Privacy

We will handle all matters with due respect for the rights or privacy of parties and non-parties. We will not inquire into, nor attempt to use, nor threaten to use, facts about the private lives of any party or other individuals for the purpose of gaining an advantage in a case. Where sensitive matters are relevant to an issue, we will pursue such inquiry as narrowly as reasonably possible. We will cooperate in arranging for protective measures designed to assure that the information revealed is disclosed only to those persons who need it in order to present relevant evidence to the court.


As to Scheduling

We will make reasonable efforts to schedule meetings, hearing and discovery by agreement whenever possible and consider the scheduling interests of opposing counsel, the parties, witnesses and the court. We will not arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent to request for scheduling accommodations. We will notify opposing counsel and, if appropriate, the court or other tribunal as early as possible when scheduled meetings, hearings or depositions must be canceled or rescheduled.


As to Continuances and Extensions of Time

We will agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time when the legitimate interests of our clients will not be adversely affected and we will agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time or continuances without requiring motions or other formalities. We will not seek extensions or continuances for the purpose of harassment or extending litigation. We will not condition an agreement to an extension on terms which alter the rights of the parties in the litigation.


As to Service of Papers

We will not time the receipt of papers being served to the disadvantage of or to embarrass the party receiving the papers. We will not serve papers to take advantage of an opponent’s known absence from the office or at a time or in a manner designed to inconvenience an adversary.


As to Punctuality

We will strive to be punctual in communications with others and in honoring scheduled appearances. We will timely notify all other participants and the court when, for a reason beyond our control, we will be unavoidably late.


As to Writings Submitted to the Court

Written materials submitted to the court will be factual and concise and will accurately state the current law and fairly represent the parties’ position without unfairly attacking the opposing party or opposing counsel. We will not use facts that are not properly introduced in the case and part of the record in the case in written briefs or memoranda of points and authorities. We will not degrade the intelligence, ethics, morals, integrity or personal behavior of the opposing party, counsel or witnesses unless such matters are at issue in the proceeding.


As to Discovery

We will not use any form of discovery, the scheduling of discovery or any other part of the discovery process as a means of harassing opposing counsel or the opposing party or as a means of delaying the timely, efficient and cost effective resolution of a dispute.


As to Depositions

We will take depositions only where needed to learn facts or information or to preserve testimony. We will accommodate the schedule of opposing counsel and deponent in scheduling depositions, where it is possible to do so without prejudicing the client’s rights. We will not ask questions about a deponent’s personal affairs or question a deponent’s integrity where such questions are irrelevant to the subject matter or the deposition. We will avoid repetitive or argumentative questions or those asked solely for the purpose of harassment. We will limit objections to those that are well founded and necessary for the protection of the client’s interest. We will refrain from self-serving speeches during depositions. We will not engage in any conduct during a deposition which is likely to offend others present and which would violate prevalent standards of behavior in judicial proceedings.


As to Document Requests

We will limit requests for production or documents to those documents actually and reasonably believed to be needed for the prosecution or defense of an action and will not impose an inordinate burden or expense in responding. We will not draft requests for document production so broadly that they encompass documents not relevant to the case. We will withhold documents on the grounds of privilege only where appropriate. We will not delay producing documents to prevent opposing counsel from inspecting documents prior to scheduled depositions or for any other tactical reason. We will produce documents in a reasonably organized and intelligible fashion.


As to Interrogatories

We will never use interrogatories to harass or impose undue burden or expense on the opposing party. We will not respond to interrogatories in an artificial manner and will not object to interrogatories except when a good faith belief exists in the merit of the objections or make objects for the purpose of withholding relevant information.


As to Motion Practice

We will file motions only in good faith and when the issue cannot be otherwise resolved. We will not engage in conduct which forces opposing counsel to file a motion and then not oppose the motion.


As to Dealings with Nonparty Witnesses

All dealings with nonparty witnesses will be courteous and professional.


As to Ex Parte Communications with the Court

We will take all necessary steps to avoid ex parte communications on the substance or merits of a pending case with a judge or their law clerk before whom such case is pending. If such communication is necessary or allowed, we w ill make diligent efforts to notify the opposing party or a lawyer known to represent or likely to represent the opposing party and make reasonable efforts to accommodate the schedule of such lawyer to permit the opposing party to be represented.


As to Settlement and Alternative Dispute Resolution

We will raise and explore the issue of settlement and alternative dispute resolution in every case as soon as the case can be evaluated and, if feasible, mediation should be encouraged. We will advise our clients at the outset of the availability of alternative dispute resolution. We will not hold out the possibility of settlement as a means for terminating discovery or delaying trial. We will consider whether our client’s interest could be adequately served and the controversy more expeditiously and economically disposed of by arbitration, mediation or other form of alternative dispute resolutions.


As to Trials and Hearings

We will conduct ourselves in trial and hearings in a manner which promotes a positive image of the legal profession, assist the court in properly reviewing the case and display appropriate respect for the justice system. We will deal with all parties, counsel, witnesses, court personnel and the judge with courtesy and respect. We will honor requests made by opposing counsel during trial which do not prejudice our client’s rights or sacrifice tactical advantage.


Proposed by the Cincinnati Bar Association Civility Task Force. Approved by the Cincinnati Bar Association Board of Trustees August 23, 2000

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