The official comments to Rule 1.3 of the North Carolina Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct regarding the lawyer’s obligation of diligence to a client state:
A lawyer should pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience to the lawyer, and take whatever lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client’s cause or endeavor. A lawyer must also act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf. A lawyer is not bound, however, to press for every advantage that might be realized for a client. For example, a lawyer may have authority to exercise professional discretion in determining the means by which a matter should be pursued. …The lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect.
I have known many attorneys that focused their zealous efforts on engaging in “whatever lawful and ethical measures are required” without any other consideration. Engaging in tactics that are “lawful” and “ethical” (in the strict sense of within the Rules of Professional conduct) is the minimum threshold for attorney conduct. That is, too many attorneys only consider what they may do without considering what they ought to do.
I aim for a higher standard.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36
I do not believe that a good outcome for my client and professional, courteous and honest conduct are mutually exclusive. To the contrary, I have seen evidence throughout my career that an attorney who is consistently trustworthy and professional with opposing counsel and opposing parties will more often than not obtain as good or better result than one who regularly resorts to courtroom belligerence, personal attacks, underhanded tactics and shading of the truth. Moreover, it is never worth it for an attorney to sacrifice his reputation for a single client and forfeit good result for countless future clients.
My practice is a form of ministry. I am called to serve others and the way that I do that is by serving my clients and helping them in their time of need. I know that no one calls a lawyer when things are going well, so if you’re calling me, you’re probably in a time of stress or trouble. I hope to be able to navigate you through that stress to a positive outcome, and to do so in such a professional way that you don’t have any regrets or worries afterward.
If you, your friends, your coworkers, your family or your company need legal counsel, I hope that you will contact me. I’d love to be of service.