Codes of Conduct and Oaths of Office

This consists of 42 pages. I have included only the ones relevant to my situation.

PREAMBLE

The continued existence of a free and democratic society depends upon recognition of the concept that justice is based upon the rule of law grounded in respect for the dignity of the individual and the capacity of the individual through reason for enlightened self-government. Law so grounded makes justice possible, for only through such law does the dignity of the individual attain respect and protection. Without it, individual rights become subject to unrestrained power, respect for law is destroyed, and rational self-government is impossible. Lawyers, as guardians of the law, play a vital role in the preservation of society. The fulfillment of this role requires an understanding by lawyers of their relationship with and function in our legal system. A consequent obligation of lawyers is to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct.

In fulfilling professional responsibilities, a lawyer necessarily assumes various roles that require the performance of many difficult tasks. Not every situation which the lawyer may encounter can be foreseen, but fundamental ethical principles are always present for guidance. Within the framework of these principles, a lawyer must with courage and foresight be able and ready to shape the body of the law to the ever-changing relationships of society.

The Code of Professional Responsibility points the way to the aspiring and provides standards by which to judge the transgressor. Each lawyer's own conscience must provide the touchstone against which to test the extent to which the lawyer's actions should rise above minimum standards. But in the last analysis it is the desire for the respect and confidence of the members of the profession and of the society which the lawyer serves that should provide to a lawyer the incentive for the highest possible degree of ethical conduct. The possible loss of that respect and confidence is the ultimate sanction. So long as its practitioners are guided by these principles, the law will continue to be a noble profession. This is its greatness and its strength, which permit of no compromise.

DISCIPLINARY RULES

DR 1-101 [1200.2] Maintaining Integrity and Competence of the Legal Profession.

  1. A lawyer is subject to discipline if the lawyer has made a materially false statement in, or has deliberately failed to disclose a material fact requested in connection with, the lawyer's application for admission to the bar.
  2. A lawyer shall not further the application for admission to the bar of another person that the lawyer knows to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attribute.

DR 1-102 [1200.3] Misconduct.

A. A lawyer or law firm shall not:

  1. Violate a Disciplinary Rule.
  2. Circumvent a Disciplinary Rule through actions of another.
  3. Engage in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.
  4. Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
  5. Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
  6. Unlawfully discriminate in the practice of law, including in hiring, promoting or otherwise determining conditions of employment, on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation. Where there is a tribunal with jurisdiction to hear a complaint, if timely brought, other than a Departmental Disciplinary Committee, a complaint based on unlawful discrimination shall be brought before such tribunal in the first instance. A certified copy of a determination by such a tribunal, which has become final and enforceable, and as to which the right to judicial or appellate review has been exhausted, finding that the lawyer has engaged in an unlawful discriminatory practice shall constitute prima facie evidence of professional misconduct in a disciplinary proceeding.
  7. Engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer's fitness as a lawyer.

DR 1-103 [1200.4] Disclosure of Information to Authorities.

  1. A lawyer possessing knowledge, (1) not protected as a confidence or secret, or (2) not gained in the lawyer's capacity as a member of a bona fide lawyer assistance or similar program or committee, of a violation of DR 1-102 [1200.3] that raises a substantial question as to another lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.
  2. A lawyer possessing knowledge or evidence, not protected as a confidence or secret, concerning another lawyer or a judge shall reveal fully such knowledge or evidence upon proper request of a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon the conduct of lawyers or judges.

DR 1-104 [1200.5] Responsibilities of a Partner or Supervisory Lawyer and Subordinate Lawyers.

  1. A law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that all lawyers in the firm conform to the disciplinary rules.
  2. A lawyer with management responsibility in the law firm or direct supervisory authority over another lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other lawyer conforms to the disciplinary rules.
  3. A law firm shall adequately supervise, as appropriate, the work of partners, associates and nonlawyers who work at the firm. The degree of supervision required is that which is reasonable under the circumstances, taking into account factors such as the experience of the person whose work is being supervised, the amount of work involved in a particular matter, and the likelihood that ethical problems might arise in the course of working on the matter.
  4. A lawyer shall be responsible for a violation of the Disciplinary Rules by another lawyer or for conduct of a non-lawyer employed or retained by or associated with the lawyer that would be a violation of the Disciplinary Rules if engaged in by a lawyer if:
    1. The lawyer orders, or directs the specific conduct, or, with knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies it; or
    2. The lawyer is a partner in the law firm in which the other lawyer practices or the non-lawyer is employed, or has supervisory authority over the other lawyer or the non-lawyer, and knows of such conduct, or in the exercise of reasonable management or supervisory authority should have known of the conduct so that reasonable remedial action could be or could have been taken at a time when its consequences could be or could have been avoided or mitigated.
  5. A lawyer shall comply with these Disciplinary Rules notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person.
  6. A subordinate lawyer does not violate these Disciplinary Rules if that lawyer acts in accordance with a supervisory lawyer’s reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.

DR 1-105 [§1200.5-a] Disciplinary Authority and Choice of Law.

  1. A lawyer admitted to practice in this state is subject to the disciplinary authority of this state, regardless of where the lawyer’s conduct occurs. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both this state and another jurisdiction where the lawyer is admitted for the same conduct.
  2. In any exercise of the disciplinary authority of this state, the rules of professional conduct to be applied shall be as follows:
    1. For conduct in connection with a proceeding in a court before which a lawyer has been admitted to practice (either generally or for purposes of that proceeding), the rules to be applied shall be the rules of the jurisdiction in which the court sits, unless the rules of the court provide otherwise; and
    2. For any other conduct:
      1. If the lawyer is licensed to practice only in this state, the rules to be applied shall be the rules of this state, and
      2. If the lawyer is licensed to practice in this state and another jurisdiction, the rules to be applied shall be the rules of the admitting jurisdiction in which the lawyer principally practices; provided, however, that if particular conduct clearly has its predominant effect in another jurisdiction in which the lawyer is licensed to practice, the rules of that jurisdiction shall be applied to that conduct.

DR 1-106 [1200.5-b] Responsibilities Regarding Non-legal Services

  1. With respect to lawyers or law firms providing non-legal services to clients or other persons:
    1. A lawyer or law firm that provides non-legal services to a person that are not distinct from legal services being provided to that person by the lawyer or law firm is subject to these Disciplinary Rules with respect to the provision of both legal and non-legal services.
    2. A lawyer or law firm that provides non-legal services to a person that are distinct from legal services being provided to that person by the lawyer or law firm is subject to these Disciplinary Rules with respect to the nonlegal services if the person receiving the services could reasonably believe that the non-legal services are the subject of an attorney-client relationship.
    3. A lawyer or law firm that is an owner, controlling party or agent of, or that is otherwise affiliated with, an entity that the lawyer or law firm knows to be providing non-legal services to a person is subject to these Disciplinary Rules with respect to the non-legal services if the person receiving the services could reasonably believe that the non-legal services are the subject of an attorney-client relationship.
    4. For purposes of DR 1-106 [1200.5-b](A)(2) and DR 1-106 [1200.5-b] (A)(3), it will be presumed that the person receiving non-legal services believes the services to be the subject of an attorney-client relationship unless the lawyer or law firm has advised the person receiving the services in writing that the services are not legal services and that the protection of an attorney-client relationship does not exist with respect to the non-legal services, or if the interest of the lawyer or law firm in the entity providing non-legal services is de minimis.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions of DR 1-106 [1200.5-b](A), a lawyer or law firm that is an owner, controlling party, agent, or is otherwise affiliated with an entity that the lawyer or law firm knows is providing non-legal services to a person shall not permit any non-lawyer providing such services or affiliated with that entity to direct or regulate the professional judgment of the lawyer or law firm in rendering legal services to any person, or to cause the lawyer or law firm to compromise its duty under DR 4-101 [1200.19] (B) and (D) with respect to the confidences and secrets of a client receiving legal services.
  3. For purposes of DR 1-106 [1200.5-b], “non-legal services” shall mean those services that lawyers may lawfully provide and that are not prohibited as an unauthorized practice of law when provided by a non-lawyer.

DR 1-107 [1200.5-c] Contractual Relationships Between Lawyers and Nonlegal Professionals

  1. The practice of law has an essential tradition of complete independence and uncompromised loyalty to those it services. Recognizing this tradition, clients of lawyers practicing in New York State are guaranteed “independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.”1 Indeed, these guarantees represent the very foundation of the profession and allow and foster its continued role as a protector of the system of law. Therefore, a lawyer must remain completely responsible for his or her own independent professional judgment, maintain the confidences and secrets of clients, preserve funds of clients and third parties in his or her control, and otherwise comply with the legal and ethical principles governing lawyers in New York State. Multi-disciplinary practice between lawyers and non-lawyers is incompatible with the core values of the legal profession and, therefore, a strict division between services provided by lawyers and those provided by non-lawyers is essential to protect those values. However, a lawyer or law firm may enter into and maintain a contractual relationship with a non-legal professional or non-legal professional service firm for the purpose of offering to the public, on a systematic and continuing basis, legal services performed by the lawyer or law firm, as well as other non-legal professional services, notwithstanding the provisions of DR 5-101 [1200.20] (A), provided that:
    1. The profession of the non-legal professional or non-legal professional service firm is included in a list jointly established and maintained by the Appellate Divisions pursuant to section 1205.3 of the Joint Appellate Division Rules;
    2. The lawyer or law firm neither grants to the non-legal professional or non-legal professional service firm, nor permits such person or firm to obtain, hold or exercise, directly or indirectly, any ownership or investment interest in, or managerial or supervisory right, power or position in connection with the practice of law by the lawyer or law firm nor, as provided in DR 2-103 [1200.8] (B)(1), shares legal fees with a non-lawyer or receives or gives any monetary or other tangible benefit for giving or receiving a referral; and
    3. The fact that the contractual relationship exists is disclosed by the lawyer or law firm to any client of the lawyer or law firm before the client is referred to the non-legal professional service firm, or to any client of the non-legal professional service firm before that client receives legal services from the lawyer or law firm; and the client has given informed written consent and has been provided with a copy of the “Statement of Client’s Rights In Cooperative Business Arrangements” pursuant to section 1205.4 of the Joint Appellate Division Rules.

EC 2-39 (formerly 2-30) Employment should not be accepted by a lawyer who is unable to render competent service or who knows or it is obvious that the person seeking to employ the lawyer desires to institute or maintain an action merely for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring another. Likewise, a lawyer should decline employment if the intensity of personal feelings, as distinguished from a community attitude, may impair effective representation of a prospective client. If a lawyer knows that a client has previously obtained counsel, the lawyer should not accept employment in the matter unless the other counsel approves or withdraws, or the client terminates the prior employment.

EC 2-40 (formerly 2-31) Full availability of legal counsel requires both that persons be able to obtain counsel and that lawyers who undertake representation complete the work involved. Trial counsel for a convicted defendant should continue to represent the client by advising whether to take an appeal and, if the appeal is prosecuted, by representing the client through the appeal unless new counsel is substituted or withdrawal is permitted by the appropriate court.

EC 2-41 (formerly 2-32) A decision by a lawyer to withdraw should be made only on the basis of compelling circumstances and, in a matter pending before a tribunal, the lawyer must comply with the rules of the tribunal regarding withdrawal. A lawyer should not withdraw without considering carefully and endeavoring to minimize the possible adverse effect on the rights of the client and the possibility of prejudice to the client as a result of the withdrawal. Even when withdrawal is justifiable, a lawyer should protect the welfare of the client by giving due notice of the withdrawal, suggesting employment of other counsel, delivering to the client all papers and property to which the client is entitled, cooperating with counsel subsequently employed, and otherwise endeavoring to minimize the possibility of harm. Further, the lawyer should refund to the client any compensation not earned during the employment.

EC 2-42 (formerly 2-33) As a part of the legal profession's commitment to the principle that high quality legal services should be available to all, lawyers are encouraged to cooperate with qualified legal assistance organizations providing prepaid legal services. Such participation should at all times be in accordance with the basic tenets of the profession: independence, integrity, competence and devotion to the interests of individual clients. A lawyer so participating should make certain that the relationship with a qualified legal assistance organization in no way interferes with independent, professional representation of the interests of the individual client. A lawyer should avoid situations in which officials of the organization who are not lawyers attempt to direct lawyers concerning the manner in which legal services are performed for individual members and should also avoid situations in which considerations of economy are given undue weight in determining the lawyers employed by an organization or the legal services to be performed for the member or beneficiary, rather than competence and quality of service. A lawyer interested in maintaining the historic traditions of the profession and preserving the function of a lawyer as a trusted and independent advisor to individual members of society should carefully assess such factors when accepting employment by, or otherwise participating in a particular, qualified legal assistance organization and, while so participating, should adhere to the highest professional standards of effort and competence.

Improper Political Contributions

EC 2-46 (formerly 2-37) Campaign contributions by lawyers to government officials or candidates for public office who are, or may be, in a position to influence the award of a legal engagement may threaten governmental integrity by subjecting the recipient to a conflict of interest. Correspondingly, when a lawyer makes a significant contribution to a public official or an election campaign for a candidate for public office and is later engaged by the official to perform legal services for the official’s agency, it may appear that the official has been improperly influenced in selecting the lawyer, whether or not this is so. This appearance of influence reflects poorly on the integrity of the legal profession and government as a whole. For these reasons, just as the Code prohibits a lawyer from compensating or giving anything of value to a person or organization to recommend or obtain employment by a client, the Code prohibits a lawyer from making or soliciting a political contribution to any candidate for government office, government official, political campaign committee or political party, if a disinterested person would conclude that the contribution is being made or solicited for the purpose of obtaining or being considered eligible to obtain a government legal engagement. This would be true even in the absence of an understanding between the lawyer and any government official or candidate that special consideration will be given in return for the political contribution or solicitation.

EC 2-47 (formerly 2-38) In determining whether a disinterested person would conclude that a contribution to a candidate for government office, government official, political campaign committee or political party is or has been made for the purpose of obtaining or being considered eligible to obtain a government legal engagement, the factors to be considered include (a) whether legal work awarded to the contributor or solicitor, if any, was awarded pursuant to a process that was insulated from political influence, such as a “Request for Proposal” process, (b) the amount of the contribution or the contributions resulting from a solicitation, (c) whether the contributor or any law firm with which the lawyer is associated has sought or plans to seek government legal work from the official or candidate, (d) whether the contribution or solicitation was made because of an existing personal, family or non-client professional relationship with the government official or candidate, (e) whether prior to the contribution or solicitation in question, the contributor or solicitor had made comparable contributions or had engaged in comparable solicitations on behalf of governmental officials or candidates for public office for which the lawyer or any law firm with which the lawyer is associated did not perform or seek to perform legal work, (f) whether the contributor has made a contribution to the government official’s or candidate’s opponent(s) during the same campaign period and, if so, the amounts thereof and (g) whether the contributor is eligible to vote in the jurisdiction of the governmental official or candidate, and if not, whether other factors indicate that the contribution or solicitation was nonetheless made to further a genuinely held political, social or economic belief or interest rather than to obtain a legal engagement.

Public Servants Oaths of Office

While the oath-taking dates back to the First Congress in 1789, the current oath is a product of the 1860s

In 1789, the 1st United States Congress created an oath to fulfill the requirement of Article VI of the United States Constitution:

I, A. B. do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.[57]

It also passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established an additional oath taken by federal judges:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the Constitution, and laws of the United States. [So help me God.]

Federal Judiciary Oaths

In the United States, federal judges are required to take two oaths. The first oath is this:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (office) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. [So help me God.][63]

The second is the same oath that members of Congress take:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.][62]

State and Local Oaths

The oaths of state and local officials are largely patterned on the federal oath of constitutional allegiance. Typical would be the oath taken by all New York government officials:

I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of New York, (and the Charter of the City of New York, e.g.), and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of (mayor of the City of New York, e.g.) to the best of my ability.[65]

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

At the start of each new U.S. Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, newly elected or re-elected Members of Congress – the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate – must recite an oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.]