As the professional association for the practice of legal management, this ALA Code of Ethics (the “Code”) is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of legal management professionals.
The Code sets forth provisions reflective of the high ethical and professional standards inherent in the practice of law and related legal service organizations. This Code incorporates the principles that underlie the professional responsibilities and conduct of ALA’s membership and sets a standard for all who engage in the profession of legal management. These member standards also extend to individuals carrying out the mission and activities of ALA as volunteers, employees, business partners, speakers and vendors.
A code of ethics sets forth values, ethical principles and ethical standards to which professionals aspire and by which their actions can be judged. A code of ethics cannot guarantee ethical behavior. A legal management professional’s ethical behavior should result from their personal commitment to engage in ethical practice. This ALA Code of Ethics reflects the commitment of all legal management professionals to uphold the profession’s values and to act ethically.
Responsibilities to the Legal Management Profession:
ALA members should strive to exhibit conduct that upholds the integrity and dignity of the profession, actively contribute to its growth and credibility, and consistently advance their knowledge as individual practitioners. Specifically, ALA members should:
- Support the mission of ALA and uphold the Code.
- Conduct themselves in a manner that is compatible with the applicable ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Maintain professional competence through the pursuit of continuing education in all facets of legal management, including an awareness of developing trends and practices in the legal industry.
- Demonstrate honesty, fairness, truthfulness, respect, courtesy and collaboration in all professional interaction within the legal management community.
- Engage in promoting the awareness and practice of professional legal management in the broader legal community.
- Actively pursue diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the legal management community and in all legal service organizations.
Responsibilities to Legal Service Organizations:
ALA members should act as a faithful agent serving the interests of their employers, clients and employees by demonstrating competence, diligence, respect and a commitment to implementing best practices in legal management. Specifically, ALA members should:
- Implement sound business practices and promote an environment of continuous process improvement and effective use of technology.
- Facilitate practices and policies that foster high standards of client service.
- Establish an environment that supports the development and engagement of all employees and provides an appropriate grievance process.
- Engage in effective business communication that demonstrates respect for others and an openness to their perspectives and ideas.
- Practice objectivity, truthfulness and good judgment in the exercise of managerial responsibilities.
- Report financial information promptly, completely and accurately, and in a manner that facilitates informed decision-making.
- Understand, evaluate and effectively manage the business risks of the organization.
- Promote equal opportunity employment practices and an environment that precludes discrimination, intimidation or harassment, including any based on status or category protected by federal, state or local laws.
- Foster a culture that advocates and provides accountability for professional and ethical conduct, including:
- refraining from soliciting or accepting any form of payment or personal benefit that may improperly influence business decisions.
- avoiding actual or apparent conflicts of interest, and promptly advising all appropriate parties of potential conflicts of interest.
- protecting confidential information, allowing use solely for legal practice or management purposes and never to further personal interests or gain.
Responsibilities to Others:
ALA members should engage with others in a manner that promotes and serves the public interest in their personal and professional activities. Specifically, ALA members should:
- Maintain awareness and respect for the diverse cultural customs and practices of clients, potential clients, business partners and the community at large.
- Demonstrate good citizenship, including compliance with all laws and regulations governing professional and personal communities.
- Promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices.
- Serve the public interest in personal and professional communities through leadership, outreach, assistance and service that promotes education on the law, access to equal justice and general civic welfare.
- Communicate and engage with others in a manner that demonstrates respect, tact and sincerity.