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

Italy CLE Reflections

We are grateful to the following past participants for sharing their thoughts about our Italy Civility Promise CLE/CJE for Legal Professionals. Please click a thumbnail below to view the complete entry.

Donna De Paola

Family Law Solo Practitioner

Orion Inskip

Command Judge Advocate for the Army

Tim Kosnoff

Partner, Kosnoff Fasy

Patty Lally

Director, Seattle Office for Civil Rights

Fred Langer

Managing Partner, Nelson Langer & Engel

Karen Murray

Senior Attorney, King County Associated Counsel for the Accused

Craig Sims

Chief of the Criminal Division, Seattle City Attorney’s Office

Sumeer Singla

Assistant City Attorney, Seattle City Attorney’s Office

Mary I. Yu

Justice, Washington State Supreme Court


Read what participants are saying about "The Civility Promise" in Italy

“A fantastic, rich, thoughtful program with solid materials, teaching aids and seasoned presenters. A 'MUST TAKE' seminar.”

“Yes, I would recommend this program to anyone from any field.  We all know a lot less about humanity and ourselves than we think we do.”

“Incredible experience. Best CLE I have ever attended. This is training for the soul.”

“One of a handful of life experiences I believe to have been personally and professionally transformative.”

“You never could have convinced me in advance that the art sessions would have had such an impact on civility. I’m very proud of my art work.”

“My participation gave me a goal of somehow getting engaged to mentor young lawyers”

"The trip is a great balance of excursions and classes. Got to know others and myself really well. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the area. Realized civility goes deep and is quite complex.”

“You guys nailed it. To bring a group of seasoned attorneys together and facilitate their growth as better human beings is pretty powerful stuff.”

From a spouse/significant other:
“The trip exceeded my expectations in every way. Location, food, gelato, people, art, food, food, food.”

Civility in Sovana

Written by James E. Hadley

Being in Sovana, in this beautiful setting, provided an opportunity for such contemplation that was enhanced by the quality of discourse shared with the other participants.  This time away -- away from families, clients, the stress of legal practice -- creates a window to reflect, to contemplate, and then to explore new or altered ways of conducting ourselves and influencing others in our chosen profession. 

Read the entire article

Civility and the law

Written by Stacy Heard, Esq.
Published in the January 2012 edition of the Washington Chapter Association of Family & Conciliation Courts.

In October 2011, I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend and participate in an eight-day CLE in Sovana, Italy, with approximately 40 other attendees. The program is called “The Civility Promise in Italy: Experience Consciousness, Creativity, and Community,” conducted by the Seattle University School of Law and Robert’s Fund, founded by the president of Robert’s Fund and Seattle University Law School Professor, Paula Lustbader. The seminar is particularly unique because the participants stay in a small Tuscan town, one block long.

Click to read the entire article (1.8Mb PDF)...

Civility: Life lessons in Tuscany

Written by Karen Murray, Italy CLE Participant October 2011

After having several months to reflect upon both my seminar take-aways and the ten relaxing days I stayed in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, I fully realize that the civility promise could not have happened in Seattle or any other place that I or the other participants reside.  It was crucial for all of us to travel across an ocean in order to immerse ourselves in the conversation of civility without any distractions in order to begin our exploration into the civility promise of consciousness.

Click to read the entire article ...

Reflections on "The Civility Promise" in Italy

Written by Karen Taylor, Italy CLE Participant October 2011

You’re doing what? When I told people I was traveling to Italy to take a CLE on “Civility in the Law,” the response was a smile and a knowing look that I was off on a junket. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. The way we practice law affects outcome, and this CLE proved to be an incredible opportunity for learning and reflection—a place ideal for focus and relaxation—and a chance to reconnect and consider not only the value of civility in the legal profession, but also in other professions and in every part of our lives.  Although most continuing legal education classes are held in a law school classroom or a meeting room of a hotel or convention center, choosing to hold “The Promise of Civility in the Legal Profession” in the small medieval town of Sovana, Italy provided a respite from grinding work and a fast-paced world.  Steeped in history, culture, and art, Sovana gave us a greater opportunity to quiet the noise in our lives and consider how to make the legal profession and our world more civil.

Under the leadership of Seattle University’s law professors and staff, our class of twenty-two embarked on this journey exploring the themes of consciousness, creativity, and community under the umbrella of civility. Given that many attorneys work in a world filled with intense conflict, the classes offered many tools for remaining respectful while effectively advocating for others—the idea harkening back to “counselor at law.” Through group interaction and individual reflection, we identified and practiced ways of engaging in more civil behavior and considered ways to bring civility to the forefront in our lives. The CLE helped us realize that in all stages of legal practice inviting collegiality sets the tone for a greater chance of respectful advocacy and successful outcomes for both parties. These benefits of civility further proved enlightening, especially when considering that living within the parameters of more civil behavior improves physical and mental health.

As a complement to classroom work, along with several spouses and significant others, we were able to go on several excursions. These experiences allowed us to connect and enjoy each other’s company—to join in quiet conversation as we engaged in art, discovered Etruscan ruins and visited ancient hill towns, and ate many wonderful meals together talking about our various jobs, the daily classes, and our lives. So while this CLE enhanced our ability to foster a better legal community by giving every participant a chance to be more aware of civility, it also gave us a chance to build relationships.

On a personal level, this CLE was very meaningful; it was conducive to reflection and confirmed my belief that advocacy does not have to equate with hostility and that practicing law does not have to lead to the many health and social problems that afflict attorneys. Through a more respectful practice so many aspects of the negative can be decreased or avoided. There is hope for a more civil profession. The civility movement, thanks to Robert’s Fund under the direction of Paula Lustbader and the foresight of Seattle University School of Law, is just the place to get onboard.

Monday
Jun092014

Donna De Paola

Sunday
Jun082014

Orion Inskip

 

Orion's remarks

"There’s nothing that can replace actually being together working on a project together for days and days at a time with a common goal and common interest despite the fact that you may all be coming from very different backgrounds and different practice areas and experiences. In fact those differences add a lot to the end product because everybody has their own separate piece to add to the overall picture the result of everyone participating, everybody taking part and adding their own individuality but not in a vacuum, you know the synergy of each person in their individuality added together made it obvious that the sum was greater than the parts."

"It really does validate what you really do know in the back of your mind which is those rules that [we] were brought up to follow, those rules of civility, those rules of our society. By following them you’re going to be more successful."

"The one big change that I’ve made since I’ve been back is to truly stop and take a moment. And I’m much better reminding myself to do that instead of reacting I really can stop the process and say, hey you know, let’s think about this before we move on."

Saturday
Jun072014

Tim Kosnoff

 

Tim's remarks

"Well, I think like everybody um it looked like a boondoggle in Tuscany and a great way to get all 45 credits for your three-year reporting period. And it was that but it was much more than that. The Civility Promise in Tuscany was one of the best, maybe the best professional experience that I’ve had and certainly the greatest continuing legal education program I’ve ever participated in."

"And I came into it cynical and I came out of it absolutely convinced that something profound had changed in me in the way I wanted a lawyer when I got back here. And I think it happened because of the setting, it’s a beautiful, peaceful setting where a group of colleagues can get together in an informal, comfortable place and let their hair down and really expose themselves in a way that you couldn’t back home on a weekend or even on multi-day CLE. It takes you probably ten to twelve days to finally get down to where you’re ready to absorb the lessons of what you’ve been hearing."

"It is a consciousness raising experience, it’s hard to explain. It’s not just somebody talking to you um or giving you materials or information. It’s a dynamic that’s created and interaction with other participants some of whom are gonna be quite different from you and have quite different perspectives about the subject and about you and invariably there are some very powerful interactions that take place between the participants that at times could be very stressful but ultimately very gratifying because of what they illuminate and those who participate in that see that are impacted by it."

Friday
Jun062014

Patty Lally

 

Patty's remarks

"It was transformational because it changed forever how I conduct myself as a lawyer. It also gave me a much deeper appreciation for that concept of civility. For example, until that class I did not really understand the science of civility. I did not understand the correlation between being uncivil and attorneys having a very high percentage of substance abuse. I also did not appreciate incivility and the high rate for depression."

"I really started thinking about how civility has this impact in all parts of our life. It affects us mentally, it affects us physically, it affects us emotionally in our personal relationships as well as our professional relationships. That was transformational because it was in that class or shortly after that I realized I want to live a certain way and I don’t want it to be an instance or a new idea you know my diet of the weak. I wanted [it] to be a permanent transformation. I want to be the person that I respect the most and my time in that class, my time there really advanced my understanding."

Thursday
Jun052014

Fred Langer

Wednesday
Jun042014

Karen Murray

Tuesday
Jun032014

Craig Sims

Monday
Jun022014

Sumeer Singla

Sunday
Jun012014

Mary I. Yu

Wednesday
Jun202012

Sovana, Italy, is an ideal location for this eight-day Seminar on Civility for lawyers

Civility in Sovana

Written by James E. Hadley

Being in Sovana, in this beautiful setting, provided an opportunity for such contemplation that was enhanced by the quality of discourse shared with the other participants.  This time away -- away from families, clients, the stress of legal practice -- creates a window to reflect, to contemplate, and then to explore new or altered ways of conducting ourselves and influencing others in our chosen profession. 

Read the entire article

Wednesday
Jun202012

Civility and the law

Civility and the law

Written by Stacy Heard, Esq.
Published in the January 2012 edition of the Washington Chapter Association of Family & Conciliation Courts.

In October 2011, I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend and participate in an eight-day CLE in Sovana, Italy, with approximately 40 other attendees. The program is called “The Civility Promise in Italy: Experience Consciousness, Creativity, and Community,” conducted by the Seattle University School of Law and Robert’s Fund, founded by the president of Robert’s Fund and Seattle University Law School Professor, Paula Lustbader. The seminar is particularly unique because the participants stay in a small Tuscan town, one block long.

Click to read the entire article (1.8Mb PDF)...

Wednesday
Jun202012

Civility: Life lessons in Tuscany

Civility: Life lessons in Tuscany

Written by Karen Murray, Italy CLE Participant October 2011

After having several months to reflect upon both my seminar take-aways and the ten relaxing days I stayed in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, I fully realize that the civility promise could not have happened in Seattle or any other place that I or the other participants reside.  It was crucial for all of us to travel across an ocean in order to immerse ourselves in the conversation of civility without any distractions in order to begin our exploration into the civility promise of consciousness.

Click to read the entire article ...

Wednesday
Jun202012

Reflections on “The Civility Promise” in Italy

Written by Karen Taylor, Italy CLE Participant October 2011

You’re doing what? When I told people I was traveling to Italy to take a CLE on “Civility in the Law,” the response was a smile and a knowing look that I was off on a junket. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. The way we practice law affects outcome, and this CLE proved to be an incredible opportunity for learning and reflection—a place ideal for focus and relaxation—and a chance to reconnect and consider not only the value of civility in the legal profession, but also in other professions and in every part of our lives.  Although most continuing legal education classes are held in a law school classroom or a meeting room of a hotel or convention center, choosing to hold “The Promise of Civility in the Legal Profession” in the small medieval town of Sovana, Italy provided a respite from grinding work and a fast-paced world.  Steeped in history, culture, and art, Sovana gave us a greater opportunity to quiet the noise in our lives and consider how to make the legal profession and our world more civil.

Click to read more ...