October 2013 Goal30 for Tarrant County Family Lawyers
Download Commitment in PDF
A Message to all attorneys from Honorable Randy Catterton:
The Goal30 project is a much needed effort to restore the
professionalism, integrity, honesty and trust that I believe the
majority of attorneys in Tarrant County embrace. I encourage all
attorneys in Tarrant County to sign the Goal30 Commitment and
work to achieve those goals. This
includes those attorneys "who
practice that way anyway", for we can never be too mindful.
When I began practicing law in the early 1970's, a lawyer's word
was his or her bond. If an agreement was reached, you knew that
an order sent would reflect that agreement. Discovery was almost
always done informally and often with just a phone call. Motions
to Compel were very rare and "sanctions" towards another
attorney were not requested and were not necessary. We treated
each other respectfully and professionally. Unfortunately, those
"old days" are gone. Lack of professionalism, honesty, respect
and trust in the family law community is common place. Not only
have disputes over discovery, scheduling, alleged agreements and
other disputes caused problems for the attorneys, they have
caused disruption in the courts and created unnecessary problems
and expense for the clients whom we are supposed to protect and
represent with their best interests as our goal.
taken the commitment.
Your effort to restore an atmosphere of
integrity and trust in the family law community is truly
1) I will read the Texas Lawyer's Creed with
an attitude of inspiration. 2) I will reflect on my personal habits and
personality as they relate to the Creed.
3)I will conduct my professional activities in
accordance with the Creed.
4) I will encourage three other attorneys to commit to
Goal30 October 2013 is a group of individuals coming
together as a community to make a change. In other words, the
project is meant to be primarily a community project that is excuted
by members of the community in a spirit of
togetherness. This is different than just trying to get
attorneys to “do a better job”. As a
community, we support, encourage, and inspire each other to bring
our behavior in line with the largely unspoken commitments we make
by virtue of being a lawyers with clients. We know
we can do better jobs. Knowing this is not enough
to make create change. A group effort done as an experiment, if, for
no other reason, can produce positive change.
Remember the Texas Lawyer’s Creed. The Creed is used as a basis for
sanctions. Rather than view it as an aspirational goal, it is part
of the unspoken statement of what you are saying that you will do
when you are hired by a client.
Integrity is doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it
And, clearly and timely communicate to those affected if you cannot meet your commitment. In the context of a professional career,
forget that commitments arise when we represent a
. For example, if a client hires you to represent her or
her in a divorce, by implication, you are saying that you will be in
court on time and prepared.
When a lawyer is not on-time to court, when he/she does not have the
documents required by local rules with him/her at a temporary
hearing, when we do not have pre-marked exhibit at final trial, when
we set a hearing without checking with opposing counsel for dates,
when we snipe at each other in front of the judge in an open
courtroom, we are showing a lack of integrity and respect toward
What is the result? It is a domino effect of negatives, which begins with the increase in the level of stress experienced by ourselves,
our client, increased frustration of opposing counsel and the judge. It makes our work lives harder, less efficient (i.e. less
financially productive), and less fulfilling. And it does not provide a good reason for clients to pay us hundreds of dollars per
Our profession is challenged by DIY forms, economic restraints and
competition. The state of our specialty demands a change in our
behavior. We must increase the perceived and actual value of our
services to the public. We can no longer afford to do things the old
Tarrant County Family Law practitioners base our self image on our
the past as a cohesive, collegial bar. A portion of that "self image"
originates from activities outside the area of our profession.
is an opportunity to come together as a bar for a project that is based on our profession and includes
support and connection within and among us.