February 6, 2020: Appellate Division Approves Updated Standards of Civility Developed by State Bar Association

By Communications Department

February 6, 2020

February 6, 2020: Appellate Division Approves Updated Standards of Civility Developed by State Bar Association


By Communications Department


Demanding a response from a colleague in an unreasonable time frame, unleashing an expletive-laden tirade at legal professionals or engaging in other uncivil acts is no longer acceptable behavior for New York attorneys, according to the Updated Standards of Civility that were recently approved by the Judicial Departments of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

The Updated Standards of Civility were developed by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and revise standards first approved over 20 years ago. The approval by the Judicial Departments makes them the official guidelines for New York lawyers.

This latest update of the standards addresses the ways in which lawyers should deal with new technology while also stating that lawyers should be civil outside the courtroom as well as inside.

“The updates are asking, ‘What more can you do to be the best and most professional you can be?’” Andrew Oringer (Dechert LLP), chair of the Committee on Attorney Professionalism said.

“Lawyers must serve as models for how society can debate difficult issues with the appropriate respect and courtesy,” NYSBA Immediate Past President Michael Miller, said at a program on the updated civility standards that was a part of NYSBA’s recent 2020 Annual Meeting.

The updated standards are guidelines for attorney behavior, not rules that could lead to punishment if broken. Nevertheless, they position New York as a leader in the legal community by urging lawyers to practice civility in their everyday lives.

NYSBA President Hank Greenberg made a similar point in a recent opinion article, writing: “The practice of law is about knowing how to disagree without being disagreeable. This is a lesson we could all stand to learn.”


About the New York State Bar AssociationThe New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.

Contact: Brendan Kennedy
[email protected]

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