A Few Notes on Professionalism

I’ve been on my own in this job for 2 months, and I strugge a lot with professionalism. I believe that I am professional when it comes to my communications with my clients. I believe that I am professional with regards to my communications with opposing counsel and with the Court. But it’s still a struggle. I strive to make notes of unprofessional behavior when either I see somebody else do it, or I realize that I did something unprofessional. Here are a few things that I have learned are unprofessional and attorneys shouldn’t do. The jury is still out on open toed shoes and/or stockings, but the following are inappropriate:

  • Using LOL in emails to opposing counsel.
  • Telling the Court that you are frustrated by your client and telling opposing counsel that he’s an ass.
  • Not standing when you address the court.
  • Standing while opposing counsel cross examines somebody.
  • Getting so frustrated that the person on the stand is committing perjury that you gesticulate wildly in frustration, roll your eyes at the judge, or yell at the person and try to get in inadmissible evidence.
  • Interrupting the judge.
  • Interrupting opposing counsel except to object.
  • Having a witness testify as to evidence that is not even remotely relevant.
  • Not being sure what you are asking the court for – do you want a dismissal? Do you want a finding of contempt? Do you want the opposing party to go to jail?
  • Not being sure what the legal basis for the remedy that you are seeking is.
  • Not being absolutely prepared. If you are offering visitation, when, where, and how will exchanges take place?
  • Showing up late. If you are going to be late to court, call the Judge’s chambers and let them know. Keep those numbers in your phone, just in case.

Anyone have anything to add?

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