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

Past Programs

Robert’s Fund is committed to developing innovative CLE/CJE seminars, as well as custom presentations and other programs, to integrate civility more fully into the legal profession. In addition to our other distinguished staff and consultants, presenters at our seminars have included Washington Supreme Court Justices Mary Fairhurst and Steven González, as well as internationally renowned negotiation and mediation expert Professor Guiseppe de Palo.

Read more about Robert's Fund's previous events, including continuing legal and judicial education seminars, judicial roundtables, consulting and custom programs, and Civility Promise alumni activities.

Continuing Legal and Judicial Education

Intensive CLE/CJE seminars created for legal professionals offered in the United States and Italy.
View past CLE/CJE seminars

Consulting and Custom Programs

Custom presentations and strategies designed to increase civility in law firms and other organizations of legal professionals.
View past consulting and custom programs

 


Friday
Aug082014

The Foundations of Civility CLE/CJE in Seattle

August 8-9, 2014

Robert’s Fund would like to thank our wonderful participants and presenters Judge Paul Bastine, Dr. G. Andrew H. Benjamin, Professor Dave Boerner, Professor Lisa Brodoff, Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, Tim Jaasko-Fisher, Judge Eric Z. Lucas, Professor Paula Lustbader, Division Chief Craig Sims, Sumeer Singla, Susan Shulenberger, and Justice Mary I. Yu, M.A., J.D., Washington State Supreme Court.

In this 2-day intensive seminar, we explored and discussed characteristics of civility, the costs of incivility, the benefits of civility, the foundations of civility, and strategies to foster civility. Our group of engaging participants enriched the experience for all as they reflected upon the ideals of our profession, revitalized their commitment to their practice, and addressed relevant areas in their personal and professional lives to enable them to foster civility in their practice and promote justice for their clients. 

Based upon their experience in the seminar, participants wrote that:

I realized that we need to show respect and courtesy to others even if we can’t reach agreement.”

“This seminar confirmed that I need to listen and fill less space in the room as a leader.”

I plan to create a habit of focusing on the issue behind the uncivil behavior than the than the behavior itself.”

“If I have to choose between the cleverest response and the kindest response, I will go with kindness.”

Robert’s Fund offers CLE/CJE seminars in Seattle every spring and summer. Learn more about upcoming seminars in Seattle

Tuesday
Jul012014

Exploring Civility in the Legal Profession

July 2014

Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Convention CLE

Justices Mary Fairhurst, Susan Owens, and Debra Stephens from the Washington State Supreme Court gave a presentation on civility in the legal profession.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Fostering Civility and Professionalism in the Law

July 2014

Washington State Office of the Attorney General
Tumwater, Washington

Robert’s Fund Assistant Director of Programming and Curriculum, Tim Jaasko-Fisher, and Division Chief at the State of Washington Attorney General’s Office, Gretchen Leanderson, presented a 90-minute workshop that focused on the overlap of professionalism and civility in the legal profession. Participants examined the nature of civility, the price we all pay for uncivil behavior, and the precursors that lead to incivility. They reviewed the Washington State Bar Association’s model for professionalism as well as Robert’s Fund’s model for promoting civility and opportunities to promote civility both personally and within the profession.

Monday
Jun022014

Rules, Robes, and Reception

June 2014

Spokane County Bar Association
Gonzaga University Law School

Justices Mary Fairhurst, Debra Stephens, and Mary Yu from the Washington State Supreme Court gave a presentation on civility in the legal profession.

Thursday
May012014

Fostering Civility in the Child Welfare Legal System

May 2014

Children’s Justice Conference
Spokane, Washington

Robert’s Fund Assistant Director of Programming and Curriculum, Tim Jaasko-Fisher, presented a 90-minute workshop designed to engage a multi-disciplinary group of professionals in an exploration of civility in the child welfare legal system. Participants examined the relationship of civility to various standards of professional conduct. Through facilitated discussions, participants considered how, at times, core principles of legal ethics sometimes seem incompatible with social-work ethics and how focusing attention on civility may help begin to resolve such issues. In addition, participants were also encouraged to consider the costs of incivility and the benefits of civility with a focus on how civility helps judges, lawyers, and other professionals not only to avoid misconduct, but also to better serve the interests of justice.

Tuesday
Apr012014

Exploring Civility in the Legal Profession

April 2014

Gonzaga University in Florence CLE Program
Florence, Italy

Robert’s Fund consultant, Justice Mary Fairhurst, gave a 60-minute presentation on the value of civility in the legal profession. She engaged participants to consider the cost of incivility, the benefits of civility, and the attitudes and behaviors that foster civility.

Tuesday
Apr012014

Listening from the Bench Fosters Civility and Promotes Justice

April 2014

Superior Court Judges’ Association
Skomania, Washington

Robert’s Fund consultants, Dr. G. Andrew H. Benjamin and Justice Mary Yu, gave a 2-hour workshop to help judges become better listeners. Judges are the symbolic heart and face of our justice system. When judges listen well, both civility and justice flourish. Often, judges can avoid protracted litigation and other potential problems by intervening early in cases when they suspect potential or actual incivilities between lawyers will escalate. Moreover, research has shown that a critical factor in our justice system is for litigants to feel heard. When people feel heard, they perceive that equitable process has occurred, even if the outcome of the litigation does not favor them. Such litigants are still much more satisfied with the Justice system than those who have felt unheard. Listening requires more than simply hearing spoken words. It requires us to approach the communication with openness, respect, and curiosity; to observe non-verbal communication and carefully read between the lines of written communication; and to consider the context of the situation and the speaker. In this interactive presentation, participants reviewed the value of listening, articulated ways in which listeners demonstrate that they have been heard, identified personal challenges they face as a listener, and discussed strategies to improve their listening skills.

Friday
Mar072014

The Ethics of Civility CLE/CJE

March 2014

We'd like to thank our presenters David Boerner, Lisa Brodoff, Tim Jaasko-Fisher, Patricia Lally, Gretchen Leanderson, Paula Lustbader, Judge Richard R. McMermott, Craig Sims, and Catherine Walker as well as all the participants who engaged in this interesting and thought provoking seminar that explored the differences and similarities between ethics, professionalism, and civility; examine the relevant portions of the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct; and identify strategies to increase ethical, professional, and civil behavior within the profession.

“This CLE should be a required course for all Washington lawyers.”

Comments about the presenters included: “Great energy, [their] passion for [the] subject is contagious;” “excellent and very powerful; sparked a great conversation; and very creative.”

Based upon the seminar respondents said they plan to do the following: “To be a better example of a professional lawyer–represent integrity, ethics, and professionalism in dealing with people – [emulate] the golden rule.”

“Be grounded in [my]self and practice humility.”

“Mindfulness and self-care makes me a better attorney.”

Robert’s Fund offers CLE/CJE seminars in Seattle every spring and summer. Learn more about upcoming seminars in Seattle

Wednesday
Jan012014

Fostering Civility in the Child Welfare Legal System

January 2014

Children’s Law Institute
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Robert’s Fund Assistant Director of Programming and Curriculum, Tim Jaasko-Fisher, presented two 90-minute workshops designed to engage a multi-disciplinary group of professionals in an exploration of civility in the child-welfare legal system. Participants examined the relationship of civility to various standards of professional conduct. Through facilitated discussions, participants considered how, at times, core principles of legal ethics sometimes seem incompatible with social-work ethics and how focusing attention on civility may help begin to resolve such issues. In addition, participants were also encouraged to consider the costs of incivility and the benefits of civility with a focus on how civility helps judges, lawyers, and other professionals not only to avoid misconduct, but also to better serve the interests of justice.

Wednesday
Jan012014

Teaching Civility: Manners, Mindfulness, and a Modicum of Respect

January 2014

University of New Mexico, School of Law
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Robert’s Fund Assistant Director of Programming and Curriculum, Tim Jaasko-Fisher, presented to the UNM Law faculty a 90-minute program that featured an exploration of the nature of civility and the personal, economic, and societal costs associated with uncivil behavior, as well as a guided discussion about what can be done to promote civility on an individual and institutional level.

Sunday
Dec012013

Civility: An Ethical and Effective Approach to Advocacy

December 2013

Washington State Bar Association-NLE Personal Injury Section
Seattle, Washington

Robert’s Fund President, Professor Paula Lustbader, presented a 60-minute program focused on the costs of incivility, the benefits of civility, and the ethics of civility. Participants discussed ways to encourage clients to take a civil approach in order to reduce transaction costs and obtain more just and satisfying results.

Saturday
Oct052013

Civility Promise CLE/CJE for Legal Professionals in Tuscany, Italy

October 2013

Robert’s Fund would like to thank all who came to historic and beautiful Sovana for this 8-day seminar on civility in the legal profession.

The seminar included lectures, discussions, and interactive exercises designed to foster civility, complemented by guided excursions through the nearby villages and beautiful countryside.

“Most useful was the realization that civility issues (or incivility) are like the tip of the iceberg for much broader and larger personal issues.”

“In terms of fostering civility in the profession, I now feel I have the tools to improve my interactions with negotiations and people in general.”

“The program helped me to feel more whole. I feel satisfied and I feel like I have a path to my life’s purpose.”

“It was most useful that the CLE was held far away from home/practice/everyday life.”

“The best thing about the seminar is the opportunity to connect with other lawyers in a setting away from home and responsibility. The interactive exercises allow that.”

“I never expected to develop the deep and meaningful connections to the others in the seminar. This has never happened to me before, and I will always value it.”

Robert’s Fund offers these intensive seminars in Italy every spring and fall. Learn more about upcoming seminars in Italy

Thursday
Aug152013

Civility and Cross-Cultural Communication CLE/CJE

August 2013

Robert's Fund would like to thank all who joined us for this seminar.

A key component of civility is increasing our awareness of how our culturally based assumptions and biases influence our interactions with others. Extensive research, especially in the field of anthropology, has facilitated a better understanding of how cultural differences impact our interactions. This seminar introduced the fundamentals of civility and key research about cross-cultural understandings. It also suggested practical approaches to achieve more effective cross-cultural encounters. A key part of the presentation was devoted to building the participants’ own cultural profile and familiarizing them with the fundamental societal values that shape how people think and act. This nuanced understanding will empower them to interact more effectively with people from other cultural groups, well beyond what anecdotes and stereotypes offer.

“Excellent speakers and a good use of my time.”

“Very informative seminar, lively and creative presenters.”

“One of the best presentations I have heard in my life.”

“Opened my eyes.”

Robert’s Fund offers CLE/CJE seminars in Seattle every spring and summer. Learn more about upcoming seminars in Seattle

Friday
Jul122013

Exploring Civility in the Profession: Snohomish County Bar Association Family Law Section

July 2013

A 60-minute program presented for the SCBA.

Saturday
May182013

Exploring Civility in the Profession: Williams Kastner Partner Retreat

May 2013

A 90-minute CLE program presented at the Williams Kastner Partner Retreat.

Thursday
Mar072013

Civility Mural Unveiling and Reception in Seattle, Washington

March 2013

This mural, created by 18 lawyers and judges during the April 2012 Civility Promise Seminar in Tuscany, is now installed permanently in Judge Mary Yu’s King County Superior Courtroom. It symbolizes the value of civility in the service of justice in our profession.

Many thanks to all who joined us at the mural unveiling! View the event recap

Thursday
Mar072013

Civility Promise Alumni Dinner in Seattle, Washington

March 2013

Following the civility mural unveiling and reception in Judge Yu's courtroom, alumni of The Civility Promise seminars reconnected with each other over a sumptuous meal. Held in the Chinese Room at the historic Smith Tower in downtown Seattle, the dinner was accompanied by lively conversation and brief remarks from Professor Paula Lustbader, Robert's Fund President. All enjoyed a wonderful evening as they took in panoramic views of the city skyline and renewed their commitment to civility in the legal profession.

Friday
Mar012013

Civility: Why it Matters and Strategies to Foster It: Family Law Conference

March 2013

A 30-minute CLE program tailored for the 19th Annual Family Law Conference of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Seattle, WA.

Friday
Mar012013

The Foundations of Civility in the Legal Profession

March 2013

Robert's Fund would like to thank all who joined us for this seminar.

During this intensive day-long program, attendees engaged in a retreat-like dialogue about civility. After exploring the characteristics of civility, participants discussed the costs of incivility, the benefits of civility, and strategies to foster civility within their personal and professional lives. In addition to traditional lectures and presentations, this immersion seminar included interactive exercises.

“This was so different from other CLEs. I really liked it. The interaction was great.”

“Great exercises. I really appreciated the interactions with other attendees”

Robert’s Fund offers CLE/CJE seminars in Seattle every spring and summer. Learn more about upcoming seminars in Seattle

Friday
Feb012013

Exploring Civility in the Legal Profession: Legal Externship Supervisor Training

February 2013

A 2-hour CLE program tailored for Seattle University and University of Washington Legal Externship Supervisor Training, Seattle, WA.