Commission on Professionalism
The purpose of the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is to promote professionalism among attorneys admitted to practice law in Ohio, devoting its attention to the law as a profession and to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and honor among members of the profession.
Governed by Gov. Bar. Rule XV, the Commission is charged with the following duties:
(1) Monitor and coordinate professionalism efforts and activities in Ohio courts, bar associations, and law schools and by other entities;
(2) Monitor professionalism efforts and activities in jurisdictions outside Ohio;
(3) Promote and sponsor state and local activities that emphasize and enhance professionalism;
(4) Develop and make available educational materials and other information for use by judicial organizations, bar associations, law schools, and other entities in emphasizing and enhancing professionalism;
(5) Assist in the development of law school orientation programs, law school curricula, new lawyer training programs, and continuing education programs that emphasize professionalism;
(6) Make recommendations to the Supreme Court, judicial organizations, bar associations, law schools, and other entities on methods by which professionalism can be enhanced.
(7) Oversee and administer a mentoring program for attorneys newly admitted to the practice of law in Ohio as the Commission deems appropriate.
Membership on the Commission on Professionalism
The Commission is composed of five judges, six lawyers, two law school administrators or faculty and two persons not admitted to practice law in any state. Lawyer commissioners are appointed by the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio Metropolitan Bar Association Consortium. All other commissioners are appointed by the Justices of the Supreme Court of Ohio on a rotating basis. Commissioners are appointed for three-year terms and may not serve more than two consecutive full terms. View the current membership roster.
The Secretary to the Commission is charged with planning, organizing, coordinating and directing all aspects of the Commission's responsibilities.
Links & Resources
- Commission Roster
- CLE Guidelines
- Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program - Provides confidential help to Ohio lawyers, judges, and law students suffering from alcoholism, substance abuse, or other addictions, or mental illness
- Stephanie Adams - PED Talk
- Chad Burton - PED Talk
- Samir Dahman - PED Talk
- Using Grit and Growth Mindset
- IGNITE - Ohio Bar Association
- IGNITE - Cincinnati Bar Association
- Lessons from a Different Court
- Symposium Close
If you have suggestions for Commission projects, please send an email to Martha.Asseff@sc.ohio.gov.
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program
This state-wide program pairs newly admitted attorneys to experienced attorneys who serve as mentors. Mentors provide professional guidance and share practical knowledge to assist new lawyers in the transition from law school student to legal practitioner.
Promoting Professionalism On and From the Bench
This is an educational program presented through the Ohio Judicial College about how judges and magistrates may best promote professionalism of attorneys inside and outside of the courtroom. Topics include setting a positive example, reducing discovery misconduct, and reining in unprofessional behavior occurring in the presence of the court. It is the Commission’s hope that the highest standards of professionalism in attorneys may be promoted by intervention by the judiciary.
View materials from this series.
The Commission has speakers available to present a professionalism program for an event or CLE. This presentation, which may be customized for a particular audience, includes an introduction to professionalism topics followed by an interactive discussion of real-life scenarios depicting unprofessional behavior and how best to avoid such behavior and respond when it occurs. Please contact Martha.Asseff@sc.ohio.gov for further information.
Professionalism Dos and Don'ts: Videoconferencing
This is a list of best practices for videoconferencing. This publication may be distributed by presenters at professionalism CLEs, given by judges to practitioners who come before them, or used by law professors to educate their students.
Professionalism Dos and Don’ts: Legal Writing
This is a list of best practices for legal writing. This publication may be distributed by presenters at professionalism CLEs, given by judges to practitioners who come before them, or used by law professors to educate their students.
Professionalism Dos and Don’ts: Judicial Professionalism
This is a list of best practices for judicial professionalism.
Professionalism Dos and Don’ts: Depositions
This is a list of best practices for scheduling, conducting, or attending depositions. This publication may be distributed by presenters at professionalism CLEs, given by judges to practitioners who come before them, or used by law professor to educate their students.
Professionalism Dos and Don’ts: Professionalism in the Courtroom
This is a list of best practices for proper conduct, civility, and respect in the courtroom. This publication may be distributed by presenters at professionalism CLEs, given by judges to practitioners who come before them, or used by law professor to educate their students.
Professionalism Dos and Don'ts: Working with Opposing Counsel & Other Lawyers
This is a list of best practices to guide lawyers in their everyday communications and interactions with opposing counsel and other lawyers. This publication may be distributed by presenters at professionalism CLEs, given by judges to practitioners who come before them, or used by law professor to educate their students.
Professionalism Dos and Don'ts: Conduct of Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys
This is a list of best practices specifically for criminal law practitioners. This publication may be distributed by presenters at professionalism CLEs, given by judges to practitioners who come before them, or used by law professor to educate their students.
A Consumer's Practical Guide to Managing a Relationship with a Lawyer
A joint venture between the Commission and the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Clients’ Security Fund, this publication provides general, practical information about the lawyer-client relationship, including how to find a lawyer, what to expect after hiring a lawyer, and how to avoid problems in the lawyer-client relationship. Attorneys may distribute this guide to their clients and judges may provide it to persons involved in the court system.
Professional Ideals for Ohio Lawyers and Judges
This publication puts forward ideals of professionalism for lawyers and judges. A Lawyer’s Creed, A Lawyer’s Aspirational Ideals, A Judicial Creed, and the Statement regarding the Provision of pro bono Legal Services by Ohio Lawyers are included. This brochure may be distributed to law school students or to attendees at professionalism CLE’s.
The Commission now offers materials that presenters may use at professionalism CLEs or other venues. Presenters who choose to use these materials for CLE courses must still submit a complete application to the CLE Commission in accordance with Gov. Bar R. X, as these materials have not been preapproved by the CLE Commission.
Colorado & Denver Bar Association Teaching Vignettes
This DVD of short vignettes features professionalism problems that attorneys often face. Also provided is a teaching manual designed to help a program instructor facilitate meaningful discussion with attendees about the professionalism issues depicted. This interactive educational program has been extremely well-received by groups that have used it. The Commission is grateful that the Colorado & Denver Bar Associations have made this material available to other states. To borrow the DVD and teaching manual, please contact the Commission.
American College of Trial Lawyers Vignettes
This educational material, which was created and produced by the American College of Trial Lawyers (“ACTL”), features vignettes depicting professionalism problems that attorneys often face. A presentation is provided on a flash drive. Questions to facilitate a meaningful discussion about the professionalism issues depicted are included. The Commission is grateful that the ACTL has generously offered to share this educational resource with attorneys throughout Ohio. To borrow the DVD and teaching manual, please contact the Commission.
One of the most effective ways to teach professionalism is to use scenarios featuring unprofessional behaviors or other challenges to professionalism standards and discuss how attorneys and judges may best promote professionalism. These scenarios can be created from the real-life experiences of attorneys and judges. A discussion facilitator should use the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, when appropriate, as well as Commission publications as guides. View sample scenarios from the substantive practice areas of health law, IP, sports law, business/commercial, and probate, along with a resource guide.
Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
Effective Feb. 1, 2007, every Ohio lawyer should be sure to familiarize him or herself with these rules.
Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct
Effective March 1, 2009, the revised Code of Judicial Conduct regulates the judicial and extrajudicial activities of judges.
Engaging in pro bono is a part of a lawyer’s professional obligation to help ensure that justice is available for all. Pro bono activities range from working at a brief advice clinic for an evening to undertaking representation of a pro bono case. A number of programs have projects specifically designed to use the skills of atransactional lawyer or to provide support to become involved in litigation.
Find pro bono opportunities near you:
- Columbus – Year-round opportunities
- Western Ohio
Statement Regarding the Provision of Pro Bono Legal Services by Ohio Lawyers
This statement, issued by the Supreme Court of Ohio Sept. 20, 2007, reminds lawyers of their professional obligation to undertake activities that promote the common good. Ohio lawyers are strongly encouraged to participate in pro bono activities or to make financial contributions to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.
Save the Dream
A response to the mortgage foreclosure crisis designed to help Ohioans remain in their homes. Read a program summary and volunteer to assist.
- Mentoring in Our Evolving Profession (course manual)
- Matched Versus Episodic Mentoring: An Exploration of the Processes and Outcomes for Law School Students Engaged in Professional Mentoring
- Geronimo! —Or How I Became a Sole Practitioner
- Catalyst - Lawyer Program Overview
- Catalyst - U be the Change
- Catalyst Icebreaker
- Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know
- New York City Bar Mentoring Circles for Small Firm and Solo Practitioners
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431
Alexis V. Preskar, Esq.