- California Civility Task Force
- Mandate one hour of attorney MCLE devoted to civility training, to be included in the total number of MCLE hours currently required. Approved civility MCLE programs should highlight the connection between bias and incivility, and urge lawyers to eliminate bias driven incivility.
- Provide optional training to judges on the need to model civility and curtail attorney incivility, both inside and outside the courtroom, explaining the tools available to them to do so.
- Enact meaningful changes to State Bar disciplinary rules, prohibiting repeated incivility and clarifying that civility is not inconsistent with zealous representation; and
- Require all lawyers, not just those who took the oath after the 2014 rule change, to affirm or reaffirm during the annual license renewal process that: "As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity."
About the California Civility Task Force:
The California Civility Task Force is a joint project of the California Judges Association and the California Lawyers Association, in cooperation with the State Bar of California. It is comprised of a diverse group of more than 40 distinguished lawyers and judges. Its initial report, “Beyond the Oath: Recommendations for Improving Civility,” can be accessed by clicking the link below.
Click here to read the California Civility Task Force Report
The report sets forth four proposals to improve civility in California's legal profession:
The report is a quick read (15 pages) with some interesting appendices. The proposals are intended as a starting point for a renewed discussion of civility.
State Bar Civility Proposals:
On November 17, 2022, the California State Bar Board of Trustees adopted for public comment three of the Civility Task Force's key proposals. First, it asked for public comment on changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct that would make incivility subject to disciplinary action. [Click here to view the proposal.] Second, it adopted for public comment a number of changes to the MCLE program, including a requirement that lawyers take one hour of civility training during each compliance period. [Click here to view the proposal.] Finally, it adopted for public comment a proposal to change California Rule of Court 9.7 to require all lawyers to subscribe to the aspirational civility pledge contained in the current version of the attorney oath. [Click here to view the proposal.] The deadline for public comment is January 30, 2023.