Former Rules

Former Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 3.5--Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal

This Rule governed the practice of law in the District of Columbia from January 1, 1991, through January 31, 2007. As of February 1, 2007, the Amended Rules took effect.

A lawyer shall not:
   (a) Seek to influence a judge, juror, prospective juror, or other official by means prohibited by law;
   (b) Communicate ex parte with such a person except as permitted by law; or
   (c) Engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.


   [1] Many forms of improper influence upon a tribunal are proscribed by criminal law. Others are specified in the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, with which an advocate should be familiar. A lawyer is required to avoid contributing to a violation of such provisions.
   [2] The advocate’s function is to present evidence and argument so that the cause may be decided according to law. Refraining from abusive or obstreperous conduct is a corollary of the advocate’s right to speak on behalf of litigants. A lawyer may stand firm against abuse by a judge but should avoid reciprocation; the judge’s default is no justification for similar dereliction by an advocate. An advocate can present the cause, protect the record for subsequent review, and preserve professional integrity by patient firmness no less effectively than by belligerence or theatrics.