Last week, on January 24, 2020, the N.Y. courts adopted revised Standards of Civility for N.Y. attorneys (Standards). The Standards are aspirational, identifying what might be characterized as "best practices" for attorneys, going beyond the rules-based requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Standards were initially adopted in 1997, and had not been officially revisited since.
The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Committee on Attorney Professionalism (CAP), chaired by Dechert's Andrew Oringer, has for the last several years led an effort to reinvigorate, modernize and expand the Standards. The primary expansion of the Standards relates to the express extension of the Standards to the non-litigation setting. Working with the likes of Michael Miller (immediate past President of the NYSBA), Lillian Moy (immediate past CAP chair) and Robert Kantowitz (chair of the CAP's Subcommittee on Civility), the CAP drove this important project to completion.
The Standards' Preamble states: "The . . . Standards . . . set forth principles of behavior to which the bar, the bench and court employees should aspire. . . . [T]hey are a set of guidelines intended to encourage lawyers, judges and court personnel to observe principles of civility and decorum, and to confirm the legal profession’s rightful status as an honorable and respected profession where courtesy and civility are observed as a matter of course."
The CAP's efforts have now ultimately culminated in the January 24 adoption of these important Standards. The CAP's report to the NYSBA presenting the proposed revisions may be viewed here, and the Order adopting the revised Standards (which includes as an Exhibit the final Standards) may be viewed here.