Guidelines For Professional Conduct

Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct 
for the  
Practice of Law  
Hamilton County ,  Tennessee  



    Whereas, the guidelines herein embody the principles to which most lawyers already adhere but are set forth here for ease of reference to benefit the community, practicing lawyers, the courts, and new members of the bar; and  
    Whereas,in furtherance of these fundamental concepts, and in the spirit of the applicable rules of civil and criminal procedure and rules of professional conduct, and in keeping with the long tradition of professionalism among and between members of the bar; it is 
    Resolved, the following guidelines are set forth for the practice of law in Hamilton County , Tennessee : 

Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct in the Hamilton County Bar 

                                                            1.         COURTESY, CIVILITY, AND PROFESSIONALISM

1.1        I will address the Court, members of the court staff, opposing counsel and parties in a courteous, civil, and professional manner. 

1.2        I will maintain open and respectful communication with opposing counsel or pro se litigant and will strive to avoid creating animosity or contention. 

1.3        I will allow no client to dictate or influence my conduct, attitude, or demeanor toward opposing counsel or pro se litigant. Even if called upon by a client to do so, I will refuse to engage in abusive or offensive conduct against an opposite party. I will strive to treat adverse counsel, pro se litigants, witnesses, and parties fairly, considerately, and professionally. 

1.4        I will respect the schedule of opposing counsel or pro se litigant and be truthful about my own schedule. 

1.5        I will make representations in good faith on behalf of my client. I will make no purposeful misstatement of fact or law, regardless of any pressure to do so. 

1.6        I will return telephone calls and respond to all correspondence promptly.

1.7        I will make no promise or commitment to another lawyer or pro se litigant that I cannot honor. 

1.8        I will seek no sanction against opposing counsel or pro se litigant for mere tactical advantage. 

1.9        I will make no unfounded accusation of unethical conduct about opposing counsel or pro se litigant. 

1.10      I will strive to be punctual for a meeting, deposition, or court appearance. 

1.11      I will advise my clients at the outset of their obligations of civility, courtesy, fairness, cooperation, and other proper behavior expected of those involved in the legal system. 

1.12      I will contribute time and expertise to those unable to afford legal representation. 

                                                         2.         SCHEDULING, CONTINUANCES AND EXTENSIONS OF TIME

 2.1        I will respect the scheduling commitments of opposing counsel or pro se litigant, clients, and the Court. I will consult opposing counsel or pro se litigant, when practical, before scheduling a trial, deposition, or other Court proceeding. Alternatively, if I am unable to communicate with opposing counsel or pro se litigant prior to scheduling a deposition or hearing, I will be willing to reschedule that deposition or hearing if the time selected is inconvenient for opposing counsel or pro se litigant. 

2.2        I will consent to the FIRST request for a reasonable extension of time to respond to a litigation deadline unless time it truly of the essence. With later requests for extensions of time, I will continue to give consideration to an opponent’s schedule. I will balance that consideration against the reasonableness of the length of extension requested, opposing counsel’s or pro se litigant’s willingness to consent to reciprocal extensions, the time actually needed for the task, and whether the Court would likely grant th extension if asked to do so. 

2.3        I will inform my client that decisions to consent to extensions of time belong to me and not to the client, except where the rights of the client would be jeopardized. 

2.4        I will advise my client against a strategy of granting no time extensions for the sake of appearing “tough”. 

2.5        I will not seek extensions or continuances for the purpose of delay or harassment.

2.6        I will notify opposing counsel or pro se litigant and the Court immediately if I need to seek a continuance or cancellation of a trial, hearing, or deposition to avoid unnecessary preparation and expense to opposing counsel or pro se litigant, the Court, and other parties. 

2.7        I will attach no unfair and extraneous conditions to extensions. I may impose conditions to preserve rights that an extension might otherwise jeopardize and seek reciprocal scheduling concessions. I will not, by consenting to extensions, seek to preclude an opponent’s substantive rights. 

3.         DISCOVERY

 3.1        I will consult with opposing counsel or pro se litigant in an attempt to resolve matters by agreement before filing motions or requesting hearings. 

3.2        I will attempt in good faith to resolve discovery issues with opposing counsel or pro se litigant without protracted negotiation or unnecessary litigation. I will strive to present those issues that cannot be resolved efficiently and without needless litigation to the Court. 

3.3        I will refrain from engaging in unnecessary, excessive, or abusive discovery. 

3.4        I will comply fully with reasonable discovery requests and will not engage in obstructive or evasive tactics. 

3.5        I will attempt to exchange information voluntarily without formal discovery requests.

3.6        Upon receiving an inquiry concerning a proposed time for a hearing, deposition, meeting, or other proceeding, I will promptly agree to the proposal or offer a counter-suggestion that is as close in time as is reasonably possible. 

3.7        I will provide notice of cancellation of depositions and hearings to the Court and opposing counsel or pro se litigant at the earliest possible time to avoid unnecessary preparation and expense. 

3.8        I will avoid rudeness and other acts of disrespect in all meetings including depositions and negotiations.

3.9        I will make service personally or by courtesy copy facsimile transmission when it is likely that service by mail, even when allowed, will prejudice an opposing party. 

3.10      I will promptly respond to all requests by opposing counsel or pro se litigant to stipulate to matters that are undisputed or where no genuine basis for objection exists. 

3.11      I will engage in settlement discussions with opposing counsel or pro se litigant at the outset of the case or as soon as practical.

3.12      I will consider and discuss with my client the options of arbitration, mediation, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution to more expeditiously and economically resolve the matter. 

4.         DEPOSITIONS 

 4.1        I will take depositions only when legitimately needed for the purpose of the case in which the deposition is taken. 

4.2        I will take no depositions to harass, embarrass, or disadvantage an opposing party, or to generate expenses or fees. 

4.3        I will make reasonable efforts to accommodate opposing counsel or pro se litigant and deponent(s) in scheduling depositions, unless doing so would prejudice my client’s rights. Before issuing a notice of depositions, I will attempt to make reasonable contact of all counsel of record or pro se litigant and to agree on a schedule for all depositions. 

4.4        I will engage in no conduct during a deposition that would be inappropriate in the presence of a judicial officer. 

4.5        I will engage in no intentional harassment or degradation of a deponent and will endeavor to refrain from repetitive or argumentative questions.

4.6        I will make no inquiry into a deponent’s personal affairs unless the inquiry is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. 

4.7        I will seek to limit my objections during a deposition to those well founded and necessary for the protection of my client’s interest and will not use objections to harass or merely interrupt opposing counsel or pro se litigant. 


 5.1        I will pose no objection to an interrogatory unless the objection is based on my good faith belief in its merit and not for the purpose of delay or withholding relevant information. If an interrogatory is objectionable only in part, I will answer the unobjectionable portion. 

5.2        I will limit my requests for production of documents to those document I actually and reasonably believe are needed for the prosecution or defense of an action. 

5.3        I will serve no requests for production to harass or embarrass a party or witness or to impose an inordinate burden or expense on the responding party. 

5.4        In responding to a request for documents, I will make no effort to interpret the request in an artificially restrictive manner in order to delay or avoid disclosure. I will make no intentional production of documents in a disorganized or unintelligible fashion in an attempt to hide or obscure the existence of particular documents or facts.

5.5        I will delay no document production to prevent opposing counsel or pro se litigant from inspecting documents prior to a scheduled deposition or for any other tactical reason. 


 6.1        I will be punctual and prepared for any court appearance. 

6.2        I will promptly notify the Court and opposing counsel or pro se litigant of any need for a continuance or cancellation of a trial, hearing, or other court proceeding to avoid unnecessary preparation and expense to the Court and other parties. 

6.3        I will submit a proposed order promptly to opposing counsel or pro se litigant and attempt to reconcile any differences before presenting it to the Court. My proposed orders will reflect fairly and accurately the rulings of the Court and nothing more. 

6.4        I will respond promptly to a proposed order submitted by opposing counsel or pro se litigant. 

6.5        I will serve no paper to take advantage of an opposing attorney’s or pro se litigant’s absence from the office or to inconvenience the attorney or the attorney’s client, such as serving documents requiring prompt reply on Friday afternoon or the day before a secular or religious holiday. 

6.6        I will make no attempt to obtain an advantage by informal communication with the Court. 

It is further and finally 
Resolved, the Chattanooga Bar Association and the undersigned judicial officers in Hamilton County hereby endorse and pledge their participation in educational seminars for the local bar to integrate these guidelines into the practice of law. 

 Adopted  by the Chattanooga Bar Association Board of Governors on this 17th day of October, 2001. 

     Adopted by the judicial officers in Hamilton County on this 17th day of October, 2001.