By Kevin A. Morrissey, Lewis Kappes PC
The Indianapolis Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism strives to improve public confidence and trust in lawyers. For 2017, the Professionalism Committee has adopted as its organizing principles the Five C’s:
I. Commitment: We are committed to practicing law in a manner that maintains and fosters public confidence in our profession, faithfully serves our clients, and fulfills our responsibilities to the legal system.
II. Character: We strictly adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the Rules of Professional Conduct and will at all times be guided by a fundamental sense of honor, integrity and fair play.
III. Competence: We will conduct ourselves to assure the just, economical and efficient resolution of every matter entrusted to us consistent with thoroughness and professional preparation.
IV. Courtesy: We will at all times act with dignity, civility, decency and courtesy in all professional activities and will refrain from rude, disruptive, disrespectful, obstructive and abusive behavior.
V. Community Involvement: We recognize that the practice is a learned profession to be conducted with dignity, integrity and honor dedicated to the service of clients and the public good.
United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson developed these principles during her time as chair of the Professionalism Committee. Our committee believes these principles are an ideal roadmap for all lawyers to follow in pursuing professionalism and civility in practice and in life. We believe all lawyers, young and old, should be aware of these tenets and continually reflect on each in their daily practice.
The Professionalism Committee has used the five C’s as a basis for a number of ambitious projects underway for 2017:
Take Opposing Counsel to Lunch - On Sept. 12, 2017, Judge Pat Gifford, Greg Garrison, and Jim Voyles will join us to discuss their experiences in Mike Tyson trial. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this case. Invite your “favorite” opposing counsel to join you for this fascinating discussion of a historic case.
Inaugural IndyBar Service Day – Join us on Sept. 29, 2017, to get involved and get your “hands dirty” to serve our community. Both indoor and outdoor service opportunities will be available. Come out to help and get a free shirt!
Goodwill Expungement Program – In partnership with the IndyBar Pro Bono Standing Committee and Criminal Justice Section, the Professionalism Committee will work to assist individuals within the Goodwill organization to obtain expungements and remove one barrier to success. Please consider volunteering to receive free CLE and earn pro bono hours.
Collection Drive – The Professionalism Committee will spearhead the collection of materials to assist a local non-profit organization. Date and details to follow! Please watch out for details on how to donate to help those in need.
Unsung Heroes – The Committee is seeking nominations for an award to recognize those individuals who quietly exhibit the best aspects of the Five C’s. The Committee will present awards to two individuals this year.
Mentor Connect – The Mentor Connect program is up and running for 2017! The Mentor Connect sub-committee, chaired by Chuck Schmal, has paired more than 20 young attorneys with experienced attorneys to facilitate mentorship and networking. This annual program continues to make many great connections.
Professionalism Breakfast – On Oct. 11, 2017, the committee will host the Professionalism Breakfast to recognize the recipients of the Professionalism Award and Silver Gavel Award. The committee presents these awards annually to an attorney and a judge who exemplify the tenets of professionalism.
Please consider participating in one or more of these great programs to promote professionalism and civility. A special thanks from me to the members of the Professionalism Committee for all of their efforts to spearhead these great programs!