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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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Characteristics of CivilityCosts of Incivility Pillars of CivilityStrategies to Foster CivilityEthics and CivilityAll Articles

 


Thursday
Apr092015

5 Ways to Listen Better

Julian Treasure, 5 Ways to Listen Better, Ted Talk (July 2011).
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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.

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Thursday
Apr092015

Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct

Abstracts of Relevant Washington Rules of Professional Conduct

Preamble and Scope
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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
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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
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Thursday
Apr092015

An Expectation of Empathy

Steve Leben, An Expectation of Empathy, Washburn L.J., Fall 2011, at 49, 50, 53, available at http://contentdm.washburnlaw.edu/utils/getfile/collection/wlj/id/5910/filename/5911.pdf

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)
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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.

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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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Friday
Mar202015

Civility in Our Conversations about Race and Culture

Mary I. Yu, Civility in Our Conversations about Race and Culture, 66 Wash Bar News 5, (May 2011)
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Summary

Judge Yu proposes that civility should be used both within and outside the legal profession to start important and necessary conversations about race. “Civility calls us to a state of compassion and empathy. An active and civil engagement about a difficult topic such as race would also permit us to reveal our own biases, share our unfamiliarity of traditions and practices, and expose our ignorance of certain facts without causing personal pain to another. And when we inadvertently cause pain to another, civility requires an apology and a request to rewind and start over. At the same time, the practice of civility also requires vulnerability; it means that some of us must take the risk of sharing the pain of being on the receiving end of bigotry, both real and perceived, with the hope that the listener might better understand its impact.”

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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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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

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

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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