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Whereas, the California Civility Task Force is a joint project of the California Judges Association (CJA) and the California Lawyers Association (CLA); and
Whereas, the CJA Executive Board has reviewed the task force’s initial report entitled Beyond the Oath: Recommendations for Improving Civility; and
Whereas, the CJA Executive Board agrees with and embraces the task force’s recommendations contained in that report;
NOW THEREFORE, on behalf of CJA, the CJA Executive Board hereby respectfully:
- Asks the State Bar Board of Trustees to mandate one hour of civility MCLE training for attorneys (without increasing total MCLE hours). Some portion of the civility training should be devoted to making the profession more welcoming to underrepresented groups by addressing the link between incivility and bias.
- Asks the Chief Justice, as head of the Judicial Council, and the Center for Judicial Education and Research Advisory Committee (CJER) to provide voluntary training to judges on promoting civility inside and outside courtrooms. CJA commits to do the same.
- Asks the State Bar Board of Trustees to recommend to the Supreme Court revisions to the Rules of Professional Conduct to clarify that repeated incivility constitutes professional misconduct and that civility is not inconsistent with zealous advocacy; and
- Asks the Supreme Court to amend Rule of Court 9.7 to require all attorneys, when annually renewing their licenses to practice law, to swear or affirm: “As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity.” And,
- Urges the Chief Justice, Judicial Council, and State Bar to take further appropriate action to improve civility in the practice of law; and
- Authorizes the Civility Task Force to work with the Chief Justice, Judicial Council, State Bar, and other stakeholders to pursue its proposals and otherwise seek to improve civility in the practice of law.
Dated: September 23, 2021