Welcome

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.

View the articles below, or search by clicking a category tag:

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

 


Monday
Jun122017

Practical Tools for Promoting a More Civil Approach to Law

Timothy M. Jaasko-Fisher and Paula Lustbader, Practical Tools for Promoting a More Civil Approach to Law, Robert's Fund (2016)

View the full article.

Monday
Jun122017

Embracing Our Shared Humanity: Civility for Our Times

Paula Lustbader, Embracing Our Shared Humanity: Civility for Our Times , Robert's Fund (2015)

View the full article.

Monday
Jun122017

Cultivating a Campus Culture of Civility 

Paula Lustbader, Cultivating a Campus Culture of Civility, Robert's Fund (2016)

View the full article.

Summary

Incivility permeates our culture including in colleges and universities. Higher education influences each generation, engenders critical thinking, and establishes cultural norms for professionals. When we teach and model ways to facilitate robust, yet civil, discourse about controversial topics, we empower students to be constructive, civil, and engaged citizens in an increasingly polarized world. After offering a definition and framework for thinking about civility, the paper summarizes the pervasiveness and cost of incivility in our society generally and the presence and impact of incivility on schools specifically. The paper then provides suggestions on ways that higher education can cultivate a campus culture of civility.

Monday
Dec122016

The WSBA Civility Survey: Promoting the Civil Practice of Law

Lisa E. Brodoff and Timothy M. Jaasko-Fisher, The WSBA Civility Survey: Promoting the Civil Practice of Law, NWLawyer (December 2016).
View the full article. 

Excerpt

How might we promote a practice of law that is both exceptionally effective and highly civil?  As members of the WSBA, we should all care about this question.  The effective practice of law is a cornerstone of our democracy and key to a thriving market economy.  Civility promotes justice and reduces transaction costs.  Incivility is expensive.  Nationally, it is well documented that incivility costs us in terms of our business, our health, and our ability to deliver on our legal system’s promise of “justice for all”.  But is it really a problem in our state?  And even if it is a problem, what can we do about it?  These were some of the fundamental questions we set out to answer when Robert’s Fund’s Civility Center for the Law, Seattle University School of Law, and the WSBA joined together in May of 2016 to survey WSBA member’s about civility in the profession.  

Thursday
Apr092015

Washington State Bar Association Creed of Professionalism

Washington State Bar Association Creed of Professionalism-adopted by the WSBA Board of Governors July 2001
View the full article.

Thursday
Apr092015

Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct

Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct

Preamble and Scope
View the full rule.

Summary

[1] [Washington revision] A lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is a representative of clients, an officer of the court and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.

Rule 1.1 Competence
View the full rule.

Summary

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Rule 1.2 Scope of Representation & Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer
View the full rule.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr092015

Be Nice: More States Are Treating Incivility as a Possible Ethics Violation

G. M. Filisko, Be Nice: More States Are Treating Incivility as a Possible Ethics Violation, A.B.A J. (April 2012)
View the full article.

Summary

Issues of incivility in the legal profession are becoming a greater concern given the heated general tone of public discourse.  Incivility may be on the rise because of the increase in pleadings and discovery, the pressure lawyers are under to bill their hours, and the media portrayal of lawyers that give clients an idea of how their lawyer ought to behave and give the lawyer an idea of how he/she ought to behave.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr092015

Raise Your Right Hand And Swear To Be Civil: Defining Civility As An Obligation Of Professional Responsibility

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)
View the full article.

Summary

Professor Campbell distinguishes ethics, professionalism, and civility as follows: “Ethics addresses minimal obligations placed on lawyers under rules of professional conduct. Professionalism is identified as a lawyer’s obligations to society as a whole, apart from a lawyer’s obligations to her client. Civility is identified as those obligations that lawyers owe to other lawyers, their clients, and the court generally.” Ethical standards impose duties on lawyers that if not followed can lead to sanctions or disbarment, and professional standards provide guidelines to assist lawyers in serving the public good and the profession itself. Civility standards, on the other hand, are meant to provide guidelines on how lawyers ought to conduct themselves in relation to the parties involved, to “ensure that the image of the legal process is preserved and respected by the public, and to ensure that disputes are resolved in a timely, efficient, and cooperative manner.”

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr092015

Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most (2d ed.) 2010.
View the full article.

Thursday
Apr092015

5 Ways to Listen Better

Julian Treasure, 5 Ways to Listen Better, Ted Talk (July 2011).
View the full article.

Summary

Julian Treasure, a leading expert on sound and how to use it best, states that “listening is our access to understanding. Conscious listening always creates understanding.” We listen through filters of our culture, language, values, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, and intentions. To be a better listener, he suggests we listen with an awareness of our filters and adjust them to fit the context and to what we are listening.

Click to read more ...