Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

State Bar asks attorneys to polish their manners.

Byline: John W. Flores Journal Staff Writer

The New Mexico Supreme Court has raised the state bar, so to speak, by requiring practicing attorneys this year to take an extra professionalism class.

In an increasingly high-stress profession, decorum these days often goes by the wayside, several top attorneys say.

"People hate lawyers for a reason, because a lot of them are (expletive). You can quote me on that," said Rick Kraft, a veteran Roswell attorney and a past president of the State Bar of New Mexico.

"You have to do your job in a respectable manner some lawyers think you can just be mean because you have a license. Something like 70 percent of lawyers find out what (the legal profession) is like and say 'I wish I hadn't done this.' I think (the emphasis on professionalism) is a great thing," Kraft said.

"In the past, you had to have 15 (credits) of continuing education (per year), of which one hour was ethics and one hour was professionalism. …

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