Professional ethics is that code of conduct, which various professions have to observe primarily with themselves and the public in general.
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Code of ethics, which has to be observed primarily with themselves, with the public at large, with their clients and courts during the period of their profession, is called the code of profession for lawyers. This depends from country to country. The observance of the code for the legal profession is necessary for the stable growth of a clean and efficient Bar in any given country. The code is necessary for maintaining the dignity of the profession as well as for the development of a cordial relationship between all persons connected with the legal profession.
The legal profession has always been guided by such persons who were not only experts of law rather who had collected vast experiences of the practical life of a lawyer. One time Chief Justice of the American Supreme Court Justice Hughes correctly observed the context as
“If democratic institutions are to survive it will not only simply by maintaining majority rule and by swift adoption to the needs of the moments, but the dominance of a sense of justice which not long survive if the judicial process does not conserve it”
The legal profession calls for wide knowledge, high mental capacity, great culture, and integrity.
Code of Ethics sets out ideals and responsibilities of the profession as well as seeking to protect both clients and professionals and also improve the profile of the profession.
Code of ethics is also meant to improve quality and consistency.
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The one thing more interesting with the legal profession is the high esteem with which the members of this profession have always tried to portray. They have always wanted to remain top of the ladder. They have kept the code of ethics in a revered manner that they have managed to leave the profession where it deserves. But on the other hand, human beings have always had their shortcomings and the profession faces enormous challenges more especially when it comes to the level of advocate-client relationship.
Moral issues prevalent in the profession
There are certain standards, which are required in every profession, which gives it the ability to strengthen and maintain some kind of discipline. Besides that, this helps in the maintenance of basic principles that make the legal profession.
A lawyer in the course of executing his duties should develop a culture of understanding his/her clients. A lawyer should allow a client to express his/her ideas.
A lawyer to ensure that his relationship with the client is advancing and thriving should carry out the assignment as is given by the client through instructions. A lawyer must consult a client whenever he is likely to take any step, which is going to affect the client positively or negatively.
Any business must carry in itself discipline. The legal profession though bole it may is a kind of business and must carry discipline.
Lawyers need to be sincere to their clients and to the courts, in general, to be able to dispense justice to all.
Lawyers while dealing with clients and fellow colleagues in the profession need to carry with a good sense of temper to be able to carry out their duties as a lawyer.
In a society founded on respect for the rule of law, the lawyer fulfills a special role. A lawyer must not serve the interests of justice as well as those whose rights and liberties. Such a role must be accompanied by some specific moral principles, which are a key guide to achieving the required results of a lawyer.
The many duties to which a lawyer is subject require his absolute independence free from all other influence, especially such as may arise from his personal interests of external pressure. Such independence is as necessary to trust in the process of justice as the impartiality of the judge.
A lawyer must therefore avoid any impairment of his independence and be careful to compromise his professional standards in order to please his clients, the court, or third parties. Independence is necessary for non-contentious matters and in litigation. Advice given by a buyer to his client has no value if it is given on to ingratiate himself, to serve his personal interest, or in response
Trust and Personal integrity
Relationship of trust can only exist if a lawyer’s personal honor, honesty, and integrity are beyond doubt. For the lawyer, these traditional virtues are professional obligations.
His client’s things should tell a lawyer, which anybody cannot be told and should be a recipient of any other information on the basis of confidence. A lawyer shall accordingly respect the confidentiality of all information given to him by his client, or received by him about his client in the course of rendering services to his client.
A lawyer must have deep respect for his client and also for the court. He must maintain dignity and self-respect. He should also preserve and respect and dignity of judicial offices as is essential for the survival of a free community.
If moral Principles are adequate
The legal profession has sufficient and adequate principles morally to enable it to carry ahead its profound duties of ensuring justice for all. Looking wide round the world, all countries have well-organized law societies, which regulate members of the profession in a very systematic and conclusive manner. These societies have various committees, which oversee their general running. To instill discipline in their membership they have efficient disciplinary committees, which regulate the conduct of members. It will be rather unbecoming if I point out that there are no adequate moral principles that govern the profession.
Those ones, which are there, have done the work and probably without any doubt will continue serving the profession well as long as the members are ready to carry their ambitions and objectives ahead. There may some shortcomings but they are human and we cannot assume to demand perfection from human beings however noble the profession may be.
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The level the codes represent
By far and large the levels of the various codes might be varying but in general, speaking, to view the code in terms of what they have able to achieve and what they are capable of achieving, they represent a currently attainable level. This should mean that they have nothing to offer for the future. There is practically much in the codes and as we match ahead we continue seeing the ability of the codes to offer much.
Hazard, Geoffrey and Wayne Hodes, The Law of Lawyering, Prentice-Hall, annual supplements 1990-1997.