St. Mary's Law Journal


In 1991, the Texas Supreme Court addressed the issue of widespread discovery abuse. Technological advancements have brought new challenges to an attorney’s conduct in litigation and in the discovery process. The Texas Code of Professional Responsibility was repealed in 1990 and was replaced by Article 10, § 9 of the State Bar Rules (the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct). The Order of Adoption of the Texas Lawyer’ Creed states “the conduct of a lawyer should be characterized at all time by honest, candor, and fairness.” It is therefore mandatory for attorneys to refrain from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, or misrepresentation to other lawyers. The rules governing the State Bar of Texas have the same force and legal effect upon the matters to which they relate as the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure have upon the matters to which they relate. Ultimately, however, the lawyer’s own conscience is the touchstone for testing whether conduct merely meets the minimum standards of the profession or rises to a higher level. In law journal articles, commenters lament the inadequate remedies provided by rules of legal ethics and penal codes in the face of which attorneys and parties destroy or frustrate legitimate discovery. As members of the legal profession, lawyers start the reclamation of dignity in the profession by reviewing the policies and practice in their firms, courtrooms, and classrooms. The overriding duty to the profession requires attorneys to take their relationship with bench and bar to a far nobler level. Attorneys must go above and beyond the minimum requirements mandated by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Professional Conduct when dealing with evidentiary problems specifically, and in the practice of law as a whole. In the end, it is the clients and the public who are better served by this practice.


St. Mary's University School of Law