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Remarks of Justice Peter T. Zarella
Bar Admission Ceremony
October 31, 2005

Thank you, Chief Justice Sullivan.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you today as we celebrate the successful completion of a long and demanding journey that has brought you to this beautiful theater this [morning/afternoon]. It is most fitting that we join your families and friends in acknowledging your impressive accomplishments, and we are pleased to do so. even though your formal law school education is behind you, the successful and competent practice of law will challenge you for years to come. To guide you in your quest to meet this challenge, there are many resources available to help you chart a successful course as new lawyers. included among these resources are the experienced lawyers with whom you will associate in your workplace, and in bar association meetings and events. I would suggest that you seek professional mentors from among those who demonstrate admirable qualities that are worthy of emulation, and also that you seek practical advice from those who have proven themselves in the trenches. in addition to these role models, you also have other resources available to you such as articles and other materials that will have an impact on your day-to-day practice of law. as one example of an important and helpful resource, I would like to share with you today the words of a document adopted by the Connecticut bar association house of delegates on June 6, 1994. It is entitled lawyers' principles of professionalism, and it is, in essence, a very fitting road map for you to follow as you embark on the path that leads you towards achieving success as an attorney. as the following words embody the best advice that i can give you on this day that you enter our noble legal profession, i offer them to you as a personal challenge. The following are excerpts:

Judges' Corner 

"as a lawyer I must strive to make our system of justice work fairly and efficiently. In order to carry out that responsibility, not only will I comply with the letter and spirit of the disciplinary standards applicable to all lawyers, but I will also conduct myself in accordance with the following principles of professionalism when dealing with my client, opposing parties, their counsel, the courts and the general public.

Civility and courtesy are the hallmarks of professionalism and should not be equated with weakness;

I will endeavor to be courteous and civil, both in oral and in written communications;

I will not knowingly make statements of fact or of law that are untrue;

I will agree to reasonable requests for extensions of time or for waiver of procedural formalities when the legitimate interests of my client will not be adversely affected;

I will refrain from causing unreasonable delays;

I will endeavor to consult with opposing counsel before scheduling depositions and meetings and before rescheduling hearings, and i will cooperate with opposing counsel when scheduling changes are requested;

When scheduled hearings or depositions have to be canceled, i will notify opposing counsel, and if appropriate, the court (or other tribunal) as early as possible;

Before dates for hearings or trials are set, or if that is not feasible, immediately after such dates have been set, i will attempt to verify the availability of key participants and witnesses so that I can promptly notify the court (or other tribunal) and opposing counsel of any likely problem in that regard;

I will refrain from utilizing litigation or any other course of conduct to harass the opposing party;

I will refrain from engaging in excessive and abusive discovery, and i will comply with all reasonable discovery requests;

In depositions and other proceedings, and in negotiations, I will conduct myself with dignity, avoid making groundless objections and refrain from engaging in acts of rudeness or disrespect;

I will not serve motions and pleadings on the other party or counsel at such time or in such manner as will unfairly limit the other party's opportunity to respond;

In business transactions I will not quarrel over matters of form or style, but will concentrate on matters of substance and content;

I will be a vigorous and zealous advocate on behalf of my client, while recognizing, as an officer of the court, that excessive zeal may be detrimental to my client's interests as well as to the proper functioning of our system of justice;

While I must consider my client's decision concerning the objectives of the representation, I nevertheless will counsel my client that a willingness to initiate or engage in settlement discussions is consistent with zealous and effective representation;

Where consistent with my client's interests, I will communicate with opposing counsel in an effort to avoid litigation and to resolve litigation that has actually commenced;

I will withdraw voluntarily claims or defenses when it becomes apparent that they do not have merit or are superfluous;

I will not file frivolous motions;

I will make every effort to agree with other counsel, as early as possible, on a voluntary exchange of information and on a plan for discovery;

I will attempt to resolve, by agreement, my objections to matters contained in my opponent's pleadings and discovery requests;

In civil matters, I will stipulate to facts as to which there is no genuine dispute;

I will endeavor to be punctual in attending court hearings, conferences, meetings and depositions;

I will at all times be candid with the court and its personnel;

I will remember that, in addition to commitment to my client's cause, my responsibilities as a lawyer include a devotion to the public good;

I will endeavor to keep myself current in the areas in which i practice and when necessary, will associate with, or refer my client to, counsel knowledgeable in another field of practice;

I will be mindful of the fact that, as a member of a self-regulating profession, it is incumbent on me to report violations by fellow lawyers as required by the rules of professional conduct;

I will be mindful of the need to protect the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public and will be so guided when considering methods and content of advertising;

I will be mindful that the law is a learned profession and that among its desirable goals are devotion to public service, improvement of administration of justice, and the contribution of uncompensated time and civic influence on behalf of those persons who cannot afford adequate legal assistance;

I will endeavor to ensure that all persons, regardless of race, age, gender, disability, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, color, or creed receive fair and equal treatment under the law, and will always conduct myself in such a way as to promote equality and justice for all.

Having offered these words as a personal challenge to each of you to strive to bring these words to life in all of your professional endeavors, I will close by noting that your anticipated success in meeting this challenge will enrich not only your own reputation, but that of our entire profession as well. On behalf of my colleagues on the supreme court and the men and women of the judicial branch, I congratulate you and those who supported you in becoming members of the bar of the state of Connecticut, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

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