I wanted to recognize that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed SB 534 into law. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kirk Watson and Rep. John Smithee, and supported by numerous bar organizations, including Tex-ABOTA, TADC, TTLA and the State Bar of Texas adds to the oath that is required of each person admitted to practice law in Texas, specifically that the person will “conduct oneself with integrity and civility in dealing and communicating with the court and all parties.”
The legislation is part of a national push to include similar language in lawyer oaths, and follows 13 other states, which have enacted similar legislation, reflecting a recognition of the important role that civility plays is allowing our justice system to function effectively and efficiently.
No, existing lawyers are not grandfathered. As Texas lawyers know, the Texas Lawyers Creed enacted in 1989 already covered this ground, and in my experience civility is the norm in the courts I have practiced in, and rare (okay one) has been the judge that tolerates anything less. But this legislation places appropriate emphasis on the subject. Congratulations to all for all the work that went into getting the legislation passed.