February 21, 2013
Path to Professionalism: An Introduction from the Chairman
~ written by Lee Evans, Chair, Columbus Bar Professionalism Committee
As indicated in the first Path to Professionalism column, which appeared in the February 22 edition of the Daily Reporter, the CBA Professionalism Committee intends to use this webpage to post information generally related to the topic of lawyer professionalism. Our committee listserve (firstname.lastname@example.org) will enable you to respond or comment in relation to topics raised in the articles, or to raise new topics if you are so inclined. This is the first such posting. Please let me know what you think or as to ways this webpage can be improved.
No discussion on the topic of Professionalism in Ohio would be complete, and in my view the postings must start, with reference to publications offered by the Supreme Court of Ohio and, in particular, the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Professionalism. In particular, see "Professional Ideals for Lawyers and Judges," available in hard copy from the Supreme Court and at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov which contains "A Lawyer's Creed," "A Lawyer's Aspirational Ideals," "Statement Regarding the Provision of Pro Bono Legal Services by Ohio Lawyers," a well as the Supreme Court's "Statement on Judicial Professionalism," and "A Judicial Creed."
Additionally, the Commission on Professionalism, in November 2012, released the first of a series of best practices publications entitled "Professionalism Dos and Don'ts." The first such publication pertains to the Do's and Don’ts of Depositions. This publication is available here.
With regard to other recent developments, for a discussion of what Ohio Civil Rule 37(E) means when it says "the parties shall make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter through discussion. . . ," see the recent decision by Judge Hogan in Harlor v. Lyday, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 12 CVC-6371. Among other things, the Court notes, "Letter writing by itself is generally not sufficient to satisfy the requirement to make a reasonable effort to resolve discovery disputes prior to the filing of a motion for sanctions. Letter writing can have a useful role, but when used alone, it limits the number of back and forth exchanges of information and suggestions for resolution of the dispute. This Court expects counsel to engage in a concerted effort in which they actually speak to one another, listen to one another, attempt to imagine possible resolutions, and agree to reasonable solutions."
For a discussion of ex parte communication with the judiciary and, among other things, the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, see the recent decision of the Ohio Supreme Court in In Re Disqualification of Sheward, ___ Ohio St.3d ____, 2012 – Ohio-6289. Finally, the January 2013 issue of the ABA Journal contains an interesting article on the subject of civility in the legal profession, entitled "You're Out of Order! Dealing with the costs of incivility in the legal profession."
Please feel free to comment on these decisions and articles or bring to our attention other such materials for the membership’s review and consideration.