Can Courts Enforce Civil Conduct?

01 June 2016 Publication

5 ST. MARY’S J. LEGAL MAL. & ETHICS 222 (Spring 2016)

Abstract. There is considerable controversy on the question of whether courts can require civil conduct by lawyers, not just in Texas but across the country. To answer that question, it must be determined whether lawyer civility is at least impliedly part of the court and disciplinary rules or whether “civility” is only part of the professionalism creeds and merely “aspirational.” This Article attempts to answer this by discussing three viewpoints on enforcing civility. Further, it argues for honest recognition of the multitude of concerns about incivility and asserts that the legal profession must cultivate an increase in the spirit of civility and professionalism.

Authors. Justice Lang is a member of the 5th District Court of Appeals, a member and Secretary of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the American Inns of Court Foundation, a past president of the Dallas Bar Association and the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and past chair of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.

Haleigh Jones, University of Cincinnati, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Political Science, summa cum laude, 2012; Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 2015. Jones is a Briefing Attorney to the Honorable Justice Douglas Lang and a member of the Dallas Bar Association and its Professionalism Committee.

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