Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


In 1989, the Supreme Court of Georgia and the State Bar of Georgia embarked upon what they considered a long-range project-to raise the level of professionalism of lawyers in the state. Accordingly, the Georgia Supreme Court established the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, the first such body of its kind in the entire nation. Its primary mission is to ensure that the practice of law is engaged in the service not only of the client, but also of the public at large.

During the past year, the Georgia appellate courts have focused their attention on professionalism. The courts issued significant decisions regarding the appropriate standard of care, including the role legal ethics will play in establishing the standard of care in legal malpractice cases. Also, the courts have analyzed the ethical propriety of certain types of fee arrangements with clients and others, including the validity of liquidated damages clauses in retainer agreements and the propriety of splitting fees with referral services. In addition, the courts have opened the door for broader solicitation of clients by attorneys and issued guidelines for attorneys who wish to contact former employees of organizations that are opposing parties in litigation. Finally, the courts have further defined statute of limitations issues in malpractice actions.