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Code of Conduct

Persons admitted to practice in the Southern District of California are reminded of the Code of Conduct and the rules on professionalism contained in the local rules of the United States District Court:

Civil Rule 83.4 Professionalism

a. Code of Conduct. The United States District Court for the Southern District of California is committed to the highest standards of professionalism and expects those standards to be observed by lawyers who practice before it. Compliance with high standards of professionalism depends primarily upon understanding the value of clients, the legal system, the public, and lawyers of adhering to the voluntary standards. Secondarily, compliance depends upon reinforcement by peer pressure and public opinion, and finally, when necessary, by enforcement by the courts through their powers and rules already in existence. This code of conduct is not intended to be a set of rules that lawyers can use to incite ancillary litigation on the question whether the standards have been observed by an adversary, but the court may take any appropriate measures to address violations of the rules.

1. Conduct to Follow. An attorney in practice before this court shall:

a. Be courteous and civil in all communications, oral and written, and in all proceedings conduct herself/himself with dignity and respect.

b. Be a vigorous and zealous advocate on behalf of a client without acting in a manner detrimental to the proper functioning of the judicial system.

c. Attempt to resolve litigation consistent with his or her client's interests.

d. Attempt to informally resolve disputes with opposing counsel.

e. Agree to reasonable scheduling changes, requests for extensions of time and waivers of procedural formalities, if the legitimate interests of a client will not be adversely affected.

f. Communicate with opposing counsel in an attempt to establish a discovery plan and a voluntary exchange of non-privileged information.

g. When possible, confer with opposing counsel before scheduling or rescheduling hearings, depositions, and meetings and notify all parties and the court, as early as possible, when hearings or depositions must be canceled.

2. Conduct to Avoid. An attorney in practice before this court shall not:

a. Disparage the intelligence, ethics, morals, integrity or behavior of opposing parties or counsel unless such characteristics are at issue.

b. Disparage any person's gender, race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical handicap, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

c. Knowingly participate in litigation or any other proceeding that is without merit or is designed to harass or drain the financial resources of the opposing party.

d. Arbitrarily or unreasonably deny an opposing counsel's reasonable request for cooperation or accommodation.

e. Serve motions and pleadings on opposing parties or counsel at a time or in a manner that will unfairly limit their opportunity to respond.

f. Seek sanctions against or the disqualification of any other attorney for any improper purpose.

g. Engage in excessive, abusive discovery, or delaying tactics.

b. Standards of Professional Conduct. Every member of the bar of this court and any attorney permitted to practice in this court shall be familiar with and comply with the standards of professional conduct required of members of the State Bar of California, and decisions of any court applicable thereto, which are hereby adopted as standards of professional conduct of this court. This specification shall not be interpreted to be exhaustive of the standards of professional conduct. In that connection, the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association should be noted. No attorney permitted to practice before this court shall engage in any conduct which degrades or impugns the integrity of the court or in any manner interferes with the administration of justice therein.