United States District Court
Northern District Of Illinois
LR83.53.1. Meritorious Claims and Contentions
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an
issue therein, unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous, which
includes a good-faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of
existing law. A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or the
respondent in a proceeding that could result in incarceration, may nevertheless so
defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the case be established.
Committee Comment. The advocate has a duty to use legal procedure for the fullest benefit of the
client’s cause, but also a duty not to abuse legal procedure. The law, both
procedural and substantive, establishes the limits within which an advocate may proceed.
However, the law is not always clear and never is static. Accordingly, in
determining the proper scope of advocacy, account must be taken of the law’s ambiguities and potential for change.
The filing of an action or defense or similar action taken for a client is not
frivolous merely because the facts have not first been fully substantiated or
because the lawyer expects to develop vital evidence only by discovery. Such
action is not frivolous even though the lawyer believes that the client’s position ultimately will not prevail. The action is frivolous, however, if
the client desires to have the action taken primarily for the purpose of
harassing or maliciously injuring a person, or if the lawyer is unable either to make
a good faith argument on the merits of the action taken or to support the
action taken by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of