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

Fostering Civility in the Legal Profession

Readings and Resources

    I. Characteristics of civility

  1. Justice Steven González, True Civility Requires More Than Being Polite, Washington State Bar News (Sept. 2012)
  2. Senior Judge Gerald W. Hardcastle, Civility in the Courtroom: A Judge’s Perspective, Nev. Lawyer Mag. (Dec. 2009)
  3. Humphrey, Thomas E., “Civil” Practice in Maine, Maine Bar Journal
  4. Julie Braman Kane, Civility: It’s Not a Sign of Weakness (Subtitle 1: Make Your Mama Proud; Subtitle II: Would You Do it in Front of Your Grandmother?), 1 Ann.2007 AAJ-CLE 809 (July 2007)
  5. Paula Lustbader, Igniting a Culture of Civility, Washington State Bar News (January 2011)
  6. Harry J. McCarthy, The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession, Washington State Bar News 2011)
  7. Sandra Day O’Connor, Professionalism, 78 Or. L. Rev. 385 (Summer 1999)

    II. Costs of incivility

  9. Cynthia L. Alexander & G. Andrew H. Benjamin, Civility Is Good for Your Health, Washington State Bar News (Apr. 2011)
  10. Dan Crystal, The Unbar: Attorneys Come Together to Take On Alcoholism, (Sept. 2012)
  11. Mark G. Honeywell, Civility is Good Business, Robert’s Fund (June 2011)
  12. Paula Lustbader, Lecture Notes on Civility in the Legal Profession, Robert’s Fund (2012)

    III. Pillars of civility


  14. Amanda Enayati, Seeking Serenity: When Lawyers Go Zen (May 2011)
  15. Leslie A. Gordon, Law Prof Teaches Meditation Techniques for Lawyers, A.B.A. J. (Feb. 1, 2014)
  16. Janet Ellen Raasch, Putting Relaxation Back Into Firm Retreats: Loosening Up the Lawyer Mind, 32 Law Prac. (Jan.-Feb. 2006)
  17. Stella Rabaut, Lawyers: Leading with Integrity, Washington State Bar Association, (October 2013).
  18. Robert Zeglovitch, The Mindful Lawyer, GPSolo Magazine (Oct.-Nov. 2006)
  19. Additional resources:
    Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books 1st ed. 1995)
    Rick Hanson, Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom (New Harbinger Publications 1st ed. 2009)


  20. Lera Boroditsky, Lost in Translation, The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2010
  21. Steven Keeva, Lose the Box (Sept. 12, 2004, 11:46 AM CST), A.B.A. J
  22. Daniel H. Pink, Revenge of the Right Brain: Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now Comes the Conceptual Age - ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion, Wired, Issue 13.02 (2005)
  23. Janet Ellen Raasch, Inspired by the Wonder of Poetry, A.B.A.
  24. Jeff Tolman, Looking at the World Through Other People’s Eyes, Wash. Bar News, (Mar. 2011)
  25. Mary I. Yu, Civility in Our Conversations about Race and Culture, Wash Bar News (May 2011)
  26. Community

  27. A.B.A., Staying connected to friends and family, not necessarily your PDA, helps keep stress at bay (Sept. 2011)
  28. Celeste F. Bremer, Fostering Civility Within the Legal Profession: Expanding the Inns of Court Model of Communal Dining
  29. David Brooks, Nice Guys Finish First, N.Y. Times (May 16, 2011)
  30. Isaiah M. Zimmerman, Isolation in the Judicial Career, 36 CT. REV. 4 (2000)

    IV. Strategies to foster civility

  32. Donna F. Howard, Learning to Listen, Learning to Be Heard, GPSolo Magazine (Apr.-May 2006)
  33. Steve Leben, An Expectation of Empathy, Washburn L.J., Fall 2011, at 49
  34. Paula Lustbader, Listening from the Bench Fosters Civility and Promotes Justice, forthcoming in the Seattle Journal of Social Justice 2015.
  35. Julian Treasure, 5 Ways to Listen Better, Ted Talk (July 2011)
  36. Additional resources:
    Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most (2d ed. 2010)


    V. Ethics and Civility

  37. Donald E. Campbell, Raise Your Right Hand And Swear To Be Civil: Defining Civility As An Obligation Of Professional Responsibility, 47 Gonz. L. Rev. 99 (Dec. 2011)
  38. G. M. Filisko, Be Nice: More States Are Treating Incivility as a Possible Ethics Violation, A.B.A J. (April 2012)
  39. Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct
  40. Washington State Bar Association Creed of Professionalism-adopted by the WSBA Board of Governors July 2001