Northern District of California Adopts New Guidelines for Professional Conduct Known as “Civility Guidelines”

As of June 2014, the Court has formally adopted new guidelines for professional conduct in an effort to reinforce civility during federal litigation.  The guidelines set forth best practices for attorneys to follow and, while they do not carry the force of rules, Northern District of California court judges will expect attorneys to adhere stringently to the guidelines provided.

The guidelines cover topics ranging from responsibilities to the public to punctuality.  For example, attorneys must “be mindful that the law is a learned profession and that among its goals are devotion to public service, improvement of the administration of justice, and the contribution of uncompensated time and civic influence on behalf of persons who cannot afford adequate legal assistance.”   A more practical guideline regarding writings submitted to the court notes that “facts that are not properly introduced as part of the record in the case should not be used in written briefs or memoranda of points and authorities.”

These guideline are structured to provide a general guiding principle in each area addressed (See:, yet should be read in the context of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,  the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (including, specifically, Civil Local Rule 11-4), and the standards of professional conduct required of members of the State Bar of California.