The Guidelines for Professionalism are the result of three years of work by members of the Professionalism Committee of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, and a number of judges from the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.


The impetus for this effort arose from concerns of members of our local judiciary, practicing attorneys, and law school professors about the level of professionalism and lack of standards of conduct.


With the aid of a number of judges, the Committee examined materials published by the federal courts, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and a number of other organizations, culling from each those particular guidelines the Committee felt were most needed and appropriate. Numerous drafts were generated and distributed for critical comment to judges, practitioners, and Allegheny County and Federal Bar Association Committee members.


In drafting these Guidelines, the Committee was mindful of that fine line between generalization, which obstructs the need for ascertainable standards, and specificity, which often results in situations where the exception governs the rule. There will be exceptions to the suggested Guidelines.  And in this sense, they should be considered as an expectation of conduct from which deviations should be measured.


These Guidelines are to be considered, first and foremost, aspirational in nature.  It is hoped that this publication will foster dialogue on the subject of professionalism, and further cooperation between the bench, bar, and local law schools. Revisions are contemplated.

The Committee acknowledges the contributions of Judges Donald E. Ziegler, Robert E. Dauer, James H. McLean, Bernard J. McGowan, R. Stanton Wettick, Jr., Eugene B. Strassburger, III, Paul R. Zavarella, and Raymond A. Novak.