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In an era too often marked by acts of incivility, Robert’s Fund aims to elevate the way we treat one another in the legal profession and to inspire acts of courtesy, kindness, and compassion among members of the profession. Increased civility demonstrably improves outcomes for legal professionals and the people that they serve. And because legal professionals profoundly influence society, even outside their formal work, their behavior often sets the tenor of corporate, political, and social interactions. View information about who we are and what we do

Civility Speaks: Articles & Essays

Resources and media on civility

Robert’s Fund has created a resource bank of abstracts, essays, articles, and other media on civility from thoughtful leaders and eminent thinkers from across the country.

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Civility Center ArticlesCharacteristics of CivilityCosts of Incivility Pillars of CivilityStrategies to Foster CivilityEthics and CivilityAll Articles

 


Friday
Mar202015

Civility Is Good Business

Mark G. Honeywell, Civility Is Good Business, 66 Wash. Bar News 6 (June 2011)
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Friday
Mar202015

The Unbar: Attorneys Come Together to Take on Alcoholism

Dan Crystal, The Unbar: Attorneys Come Together to Take on Alcoholism, 66 Wash. Bar News 9, (Sept. 2012).
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Friday
Mar202015

Civility Is Good for Your Health

Cynthia L. Alexander & G. Andrew H. Benjamin, Civility Is Good for Your Health, 66 Wash. Bar News 4, (Apr. 2011)
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Friday
Mar202015

Professionalism

Sandra Day O’Connor, Professionalism, 78 Or. L. Rev. 385 (Summer 1999)
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Summary

Justice O’Connor cites research that shows a high and increasing number of lawyers are dissatisfied with their profession; she suggests that declining professionalism is, in part, the cause of lawyers’ job dissatisfaction and the public’s unfavorable opinion of lawyers and the profession.

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Friday
Mar202015

The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession

Harry J. McCarthy, The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession, WASHINGTON STATE BAR NEWS (Aug. 2011)
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Summary

In “The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession,” Judge McCarthy argues that civility in the legal profession still has a way to go before it is fully integrated. Judge McCarthy states that uncivil behavior is rampant in our public sphere today, sending the message that “courtesy is a sign of weakness that does not get results.” He posits that civility is essential for professionalism and that professionalism is at the core of being a successful lawyer. “The very best attorneys, well-versed in the traditions of civility, can conduct an important cross-examination, even one of a hostile witness, and do so in such a productive and respectful manner that the goals of the cross are met while simultaneously maintaining a high standard of professionalism.” McCarthy concludes that despite the ways in which the law profession has changed, lawyers can and should be courteous, remain respectful, and act with integrity at all times in order to achieve success and to uphold the time-honored traditions of the legal profession.

Friday
Mar202015

Igniting a Culture of Civility

Paula Lustbader, Igniting a Culture of Civility, WASHINGTON STATE BAR NEWS (January 2011)
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Summary

Outlining the goals of Robert’s Fund, Professor Lustbader defines civility broadly and pinpoints its significance in the legal profession. Lustbader understands civility to be more than just politeness—rather, civility is “courage with kindness.” She reasons that because lawyers are influential policy makers, encounter possibilities for conflict in their daily professional practice, and serve as role models for many people and communities, working to foster civility within the legal profession can promote greater civility in society generally. According to Lustbader, civility benefits lawyers personally, strengthens their profession, helps build meaningful relationships with clients, increases client loyalty and client base, and leads to more successful outcomes.

Friday
Mar202015

Civility: It's Not a Sign of Weakness

Julie Braman Kane, Chairman, NCA Bd. of Trustees, Address at the Educ. Program for AAJ 2007 Annual Convention in Chi., Ill.: Civility: It’s Not a Sign of Weakness, July 14, 2007
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Summary

Ms. Braman Kane defines civility and equates it with honesty and professionalism:  George Washington defined civility as “acting always with respect to those around you and by being controlled by your own conscience.” Abraham Lincoln, addressing new law graduates, stressed the importance of honesty.  A 19th-century Connecticut State Chief Justice stated that a lawyer must be honest, above all, and professional, warning against a system of “legalized plunder” where professionalism and honesty are bypassed.  The ABA Model Rules Professional Responsibility 4.1 and 8.4 require honesty and integrity.

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Monday
Mar162015

'Civil' Practice in Maine

Thomas E. Humphrey, Chief Justice, Me. Super. Ct., ‘Civil’ Practice In Maine Address at the Me. State Bar Ass’n Annual Program: Bridging the Gap (Nov. 30, 2004), in 20 Me. B.J. 6, Winter 2005.

Summary

Chief Justice Thomas E Humphrey of Maine discusses how the legal profession can be improved by focusing on civility. He defines incivility as “all manner of adversarial excess, … personal attacks on other lawyers, hostility, boorish behavior, rudeness, insulting behavior, and obstructionist conduct, …as behavior that is disagreeable, impolite, discourteous, acerbic, acrimonious, obstreperous, ill-mannered, antagonistic, surly, ungracious, insolent, uncouth, disparaging, malevolent, spiteful, demeaning, vitriolic and rancorous--and sometimes all of these in one short deposition.”

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Monday
Mar162015

Civility in the Courtroom: A Judge's Perspective

Senior Judge Gerald Hardcastle, Civility in the Courtroom: A Judge’s Perspective, 17 NEV. LAW. 6 (2009).

Summary

Judge Hardcastle argues that practicing civility serves the long-term interests of attorneys and clients. He notes that a top complaint is frustration with their colleagues’ lack of professionalism. Civility, Judge Hardcastle posits, can foster relationships of respect and appreciation among lawyers, thus improving overall satisfaction. Attorneys practicing civility in the courtroom create more positive relationships with judges and, as a result, are more successful for their clients. In this way, Judge Hardcastle says that “civility is good lawyering.”

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Monday
Mar162015

True Civility Requires More Than Being Polite

Justice Steven González, True Civility Requires More Than Being Polite, Washington State Bar Ass’n (Sept. 2012)
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Summary

Justice González states that “[c]ivility is a way of connecting and interacting with people; of engaging and thinking about what our relationships are with one another, and of discerning what we care about. . . . It is about how we communicate and how we persuade and convince, because that’s often what we’re doing in our profession. If we’ve alienated people from the outset, it can be much harder to do that and to be effective.”

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