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Bench and Bar Leaders Meet to Further Professionalism in Santa Clara County

Posted By Dianne L. Sweeney, Thursday, November 6, 2014

October was an extraordinary month for the Bar.  Judges’ Night 2014 was a tremendous success, and it was a great honor to have Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye as our keynote speaker.  I also have to again congratulate the members who received our 2014 honors Allen Ruby (Professionalism), Suchitra Nayaren (Diversity) and Mark Shem and Jim Scharf (Pro Bono) as well as Presiding Judge Brian Walsh who received our Outstanding Jurist of the Year award.  Each of the awardees are role models in our community and reflect the Bar’s long-standing commitments to continuing to raise the standards of the legal practice in this County and ensuring that our legal community is inclusive and diverse and provides access to justice for every community member.

The Professional Committee and I also had the pleasure of conducting the 2014 Professionalism Summit with members of the bench from the civil, criminal, and family divisions,  including Presiding Judge Brian Walsh, incoming Presiding Judge Rise Pichon as well as incoming Assistant Presiding Judge Patricia Lucas.  The purpose of the Summit was to discuss further expanding the reach of the SCCBA Code of Professionalism (“Code”) as well as how to ensure that the Code remains the vibrant standard for civility and professionalism in the practice of law in this County.  The Professionalism Committee will be focusing on proposals to the Board and the Court including how the Bar can support professionalism in the courtroom long before it rises to the sanctions level and before both the parties and the Court have expended unnecessary resources and fees.


To support your efforts in increasing professionalism in your law practice, here are a few updates and reminders:

  • For nearly 25 years, the Code has been the standard in this County for attorney civility and professionalism.  The Santa Clara Superior Court officially adopted the Code by General Order in 1992, and it continues to be a standing order of the Court.
  • In 2007, the California State Bar modeled a state wide civility and professionalism code after the SCCBA Code and earlier this year, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California adopted the Code as its model for civility. 
  • All members are strongly encouraged to sign the pledge to the Code.  Once you sign the pledge, a designation will be added to your member profile.  If you have not signed the pledge yet, you are just a few clicks away.  Go to the SCCBA homepage, select “Manage Your Profile” in the bottom right hand menu, select “Edit My Member Profile”, then scroll down the page until you see “Pledge to Professionalism Code” in the Personal Information section.  Select “YES “to the pledge. Your online member directory profile will reflect your pledge to the Code. 
  • While the Court makes the Code available throughout the courthouse, please take a few minutes at the outset of any new matter to direct the opposing party to the Court’s Standing Order and a link to the Code.  If you want to provide the hardcopy booklet of the Code to opposing counsel in your cases, just contact the SCCBA offices and staff will be happy to send you a copy of the Code.
  • As of January 20, 2015, discovery matters will no longer be severed from the Civil Team Leaders.  Going forward, your assigned Civil Team Leader will hear both pre-trial matters (e.g., ex parte, TRO, preliminary injunction) and discovery disputes.  This new five department configuration will allow the litigants to spend additional time with the Court and allow the Court to build a deeper knowledge of the case, including the observation of the Code by all parties.  The Civil Team Leaders for 2015 are as follows:  Judge Lucas (also Assistant Presiding Judge and Civil Division Supervising Judge), Judge Arand, Judge Elfving, Judge Folan and Judge Huber.

As always, if you have specific ideas about how we can further support use of the Code and expand our professionalism efforts, please email me at


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