The words that you are about to read and the concepts conveyed by these words are an expression by the lawyers of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee, of the level of professional conduct to which they aspire in their everyday practice of a demanding and challenging calling, a career that far transcends the business of making a living.

In these days, however, when the consumer has come to set the pace, when financial demands are ever present, when competition for clients appears pervasive and the legal profession sees itself being dragged along in the grip of change, it does the member of this magnificent profession well to momentarily pause to remember that the successes of a lawyer cannot be measured alone by the number of verdicts won, nor by the amount of fees earned, but must take into account the means by which the verdicts are won and the fees are earned.

These guidelines do not attempt to set forth new standards of minimally acceptable conduct, nor to suggest that transgression should subject a lawyer to sanctions beyond the mental or emotional rejection of such transgressions by peers. What these guidelines do attempt is to remind us as lawyers, both young and old, experienced and inexperienced, trial and commercial, that the true value of our profession can be seen in a lawyer’s recognition that he or she truly owes broad duties to this legal system itself, duties which render us committed to the continued improvement and success of this nation’s effort to afford justice in our civilization—based not on a man’s dictates but on laws that apply not just to some, but to all.

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