Aspirational VAlues

As to clients, I shall aspire:
  • To expeditious and economical achievement of all client objectives.
  • To fully informed client decision-making. I should:
    • Counsel clients about all forms of dispute resolution;
    • Counsel clients about the value of cooperation as a means toward the productive resolution of disputes;
    • Maintain the sympathetic detachment that permits objective and independent advice to clients;
    • Communicate promptly and clearly with clients; and
    • Reach clear agreements with clients concerning the nature of the representation
  • To fair and equitable fee agreements. I should:
    • Discuss alternative methods of charging fees with all clients;
    • Offer fee arrangements that reflect the true value of the services rendered;
    • Reach agreements respecting fees with clients as early in the relationship as Possible;
    • Determine the amount of fees by consideration of many factors and not just time spent; and
    • Provide written agreements as to all fee arrangements.
  • To comply with the obligations of confidentiality and the avoidance of conflicting loyalties in a manner designed to achieve fidelity to clients.
  • To achieve and maintain a high level of competence in my field or fields of practice.
As to opposing parties and their counsel, I shall aspire:
  • To cooperate with opposing counsel in a manner consistent with the competent representation of my client, I should:
    • Notify opposing counsel in a timely fashion of any canceled appearance;
    • Grant reasonable requests for extensions or scheduling changes; and
    • Consult with opposing counsel in the scheduling of appearances, meetings, and depositions.
  • To treat opposing counsel in a manner consistent with his or her professional obligations and consistent with the dignity of the search for justice.  I should:
    • Not serve motions or pleadings in such a manner or at such a time as to preclude opportunity for a competent response;
    • Be courteous and civil in all communications;
    • Respond promptly to all requests by opposing counsel;
    • Avoid rudeness and other acts of disrespect in all meetings, including depositions and negotiations;
    • Prepare documents that accurately reflect the agreement of all parties; and
    • Clearly identify all changes made in documents submitted by opposing counsel for review.
As to the courts and other tribunals, and to those who assist them, I shall aspire:
  • To represent my clients in a manner consistent with the proper functioning of a fair, efficient, and humane system of justice. I should:
    • Avoid non-essential litigation and non-essential pleading in litigation;
    • Explore the possibilities of settlement of all litigated matters;
    • Seek non-coerced agreement between the parties on procedural and discovery matters;
    • Avoid all delays not dictated by competent representation of a client;
    • Prevent misuses of court time by verifying the availability of key participants for scheduled appearances before the court and by being punctual; and
    • Advise clients about the obligations of civility, courtesy, fairness, cooperation, and other proper behavior expected of those who use our system of justice.
  • To model for others the respect due to our courts. I should:
    • Act with complete honesty;
    • Know court rules and procedures;
    • Give appropriate deference to court rulings;
    • Avoid undue familiarity with members of the judiciary;
    • Avoid unfounded, unsubstantiated, or unjustified public criticism of members of the judiciary;
    • Show respect by attire and demeanor;
    • Assist the judiciary in determining the applicable law; and
    • Give recognition to the judiciary’s obligations of informed and impartial decision-making.
As to my colleagues in the practice of law, I shall aspire:
  • To recognize and develop a professional interdependence for the benefit of our clients and the legal system;
  • To defend you against unjust criticism; and
  • To offer you assistance with your personal and professional needs.
As to our profession, I shall aspire: 
  • To improve the practice of law. I should:
  • Assist in continuing legal education efforts;
  • Assist in organized bar activities;
  • Assist law schools in the education of our future lawyers; and
  • Assist the judiciary in achieving objectives of A Lawyer’s Creed and these Aspirational Ideals

To promote the understanding of and an appreciation for our profession by the public. I should:

  • Use appropriate opportunities, publicly and privately, to comment upon the roles of lawyers in society and government, as well as in our system of justice; and
  • Conduct myself always with an awareness that my actions and demeanor reflect upon our profession.
  • To devote some of my time and skills to community, governmental and other activities that promote the common good.
As to the public and Our system of justice, I shall aspire:
  • To consider the effect of my conduct on the image of our system of justice, including the effect of advertising methods.
  • To help provide the pro bono representation that is necessary to make our system of justice available to all.
  • To support organizations that provide pro bono representation to indigent clients.To promote equality for all persons.
  • To improve our laws and legal system by, for example:
    • Serving as a public official;
    • Assisting in the education of the public concerning our laws and legal system;
    • Commenting publicly upon our laws; and
    • Using other appropriate methods of effecting positive change in our laws and legal system.

Issued by The Supreme Court of Ohio on February 3, 1997.