The Spokane County Bar Association has been in existence since the early 1900s. In 1978, the Board of Trustees and the membership made the decision to establish a Bar Association office. At that time, there was one full time director and one part time law student. The Spokane County Bar Association at that time was approximately 350 members strong. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 members including Associate and Honorary Members. The SCBA has five full-time employees: The Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director, Executive Assistant, Volunteer Lawyers Program Director and VLP Paralegal. The Board of Trustees, elected annually by the membership, meets the third Wednesday of each month. Board of Trustee meetings are open to all members.
One of the busiest and hardest working groups of the SCBA is the Young Lawyers Division. Membership to the YLD is free and open to all SCBA members under the age of 36, or those who have been admitted to practice for five (5) years or less. For several years now, the Spokane County Young Lawyers have sponsored a New Lawyer Orientation Program to attorneys newly admitted to the Washington State Bar Association. This program has been lauded statewide and praised by those who have participated. Sections include the Family Law Section, Diversity Section and ADR Section.
The Spokane County Bar Association maintains many active committees which include: Calendar Call & Web Site Editorial Board, CLE Programs, Golf Tournament, Holiday Party, Information Services, Judicial Evaluation, Law Day, Membership, Professionalism Dinner, Paralegal Registration, Volunteer Lawyers Program, VLP Auction, VLP Fundraisers, and Liaison Committees to the Appellate, Superior and District Courts. Committee assignments are made annually with a Board of Trustees member acting as Liaison to each committee.
In addition to these committees, the SCBA has a Speakers Bureau. Local school districts and service organizations are encouraged to contact the Spokane County Bar Association at 509-477-6032 to receive the names and telephone number of attorneys able to speak on a variety of subjects such as “The Law as a Career”, “The Court System”, etc. The Speakers Bureau offers an opportunity for the public to become acquainted with the legal profession, learn about the law and provide members of the legal profession an ability to reach out to the community.
Pursuant to the Board of Trustees’ resolution dated April 19, 1989 and the unanimous decision of the membership at the annual meeting held on June 2, 1989, the following Code of Professional Courtesy was adopted:
SPOKANE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CODE OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY
As a lawyer, I recognize my first duty is to ardently and conscientiously represent my client. Yet, each lawyer also has the responsibility for making our system of justice work honorably, fairly and efficiently. To accomplish this end, I will comply with my profession’s disciplinary standards, and be guided by the following creed when dealing with clients, opposing counsel, the courts and general public.
A. My Client:
1. I will be loyal and sensitive to my client’s needs, but I will not permit that commitment to block my ability to provide objective and candid advice.
2. I will try to achieve my clients lawful objectives as quickly and economically as possible.
3. I will advise my client that civility and courtesy are not to be equated with weakness.
4. I will abide by my clients ethical decisions regarding the client’s goals, but nevertheless will advise that a willingness to engage in settlement negotiations is consistent with ardent, conscientious and effective representation.
B. Opposing Parties and their Counsel:
- 1. I will try to act with dignity, integrity, and courtesy in oral and written communications.
- 2. My word is my bond, not only with opposing counsel, but in all my dealings.
- 3. In litigation, I will agree with responsible requests for extensions of time, stipulate to undisputed facts to avoid needless costs or inconvenience, and waive procedural formalities when the interest of my client will not adversely be affected.
- 4. I will facilitate the processing of all reasonable discovery requests.
- 5. I will not ask colleagues for rescheduling of court settings or discovery proceedings unless a legitimate need exists; nor will I unreasonably withhold consent for scheduling accommodations. I will try to consult with opposing counsel before scheduling depositions, hearings, and other proceedings or meetings.
- 6. I will promptly respond to oral and written communications.
- 7. I will avoid condemning my adversary or the opposing party.
C. The Courts and Other Tribunals:
- 1. I will be candid with and courteous to the Court and its staff.
- 2. I will be punctual in attending court hearings, conferences and depositions; I recognize that tardiness is demeaning to me and to the profession.
- 3. I will stand to address the Court, and dress appropriately to show my respect for the Court and the law.
- 4. I will refrain from condemnation of the Court.
D. The Public and our System of Justice:
1. I will remember that my responsibilities as a lawyer include a devotion to the public good and the improvement of the administration of justice, including the contribution of uncompensated time for those persons who cannot afford adequate legal assistance.
2. I will remember the need to promote the image of the profession in the eyes of the Public and be guided accordingly when considering advertising methods and content.
*The Board of Trustees of the Spokane County Bar Associations continues to endorse this resolution and provides a copy to all attorneys when they are sworn in to the practice of law in Spokane County.
Revised Code of Professional Courtesy adopted by SCBA Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on April 20, 2016, in accordance with ABA Preamble revisions adopted by Washington State and effective on April 27, 2007.