The Ethical Limits of Zealous Advocacy


About This Event

  • Event Type: Webinar
Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States held that “an attorney’s ethical duty to advance the interests of his client is limited by an equally solemn duty to comply with the law and standards of professional conduct.” Although the California Rules of Professional Conduct do not use the phrase “zealous advocacy” every lawyer admitted to practice in California takes an oath to “support the Constitution of the United States and the   Constitution of the State of California, and faithfully to discharge the duties of any attorney at law to the best of his knowledge and ability.”  Newly admitted attorneys are also required to take a “civility” oath. In addition to duties owed to their clients, as officers of the court, attorneys  have equally important duties to the judicial system as a whole.

This presentation defines and discusses the ethical contours of “zealous advocacy,” at all phases of representation, beginning at the time of  retainer, through pre-filing handling of the matter, and litigation in court  (i.e., filing, pretrial, discovery and trial.) In addition, there will be a discussion of the special duties of criminal prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and appellate attorneys.

Finally, the State Bar’s Attorney Guidelines of Civility and Professionalism, California Rules of Court, rule 9.7 as well as local bar association civility guidelines will be discussed and analyzed to answer whether civility guidelines are a limit on zealous advocacy on behalf of clients or rather are a more effective method of advocacy that better balances the attorney’s dual role as client advocate and officer of the court.

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