- 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 (CCTF) 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.
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 were intended as a starting point for a renewed discussion of civility.
After issuing its initial report, CCTF asked the State Bar Board of Trustees to consider implementing the proposals relating to mandatory civility MCLE, disciplinary rule changes to prohibit incivility, and requiring all attorneys to take the modern version of the oath containing a pledge to strive for civility. After two rounds of notice and comment in which the proposals received overwhelming support from bar associations and individual lawyers, the Board approved the proposed changes (with some modest revisions either suggested by or embraced by CCTF). The proposals are now before the California Supreme Court, which must approve them before they can take effect. The Supreme Court matter number is S281631.