Civility in Legal Practice: Why it Matters

Practicing law can be inherently adversarial. Attorneys are confronted with uncivil behavior from opposing counsel, clients, colleagues, and even judges. The question is, how should we respond? And what impact might these uncivil behaviors have on our practice and the justice system itself?

In this session, panelists will explore the practical and public implications of incivility in the legal profession from the perspective of the judiciary and practicing attorneys. The discussion will include: 

  • How civility impacts the legal system   
  • Examples of how the pandemic affected incivility in legal practice and the courtroom (e.g., remote proceedings) 
  • The impact of incivility on the outcome of cases and a lawyer’s reputation among the bench and bar 
  • How incivility undermines confidence in the justice system 
  • What constitutes client advocacy vs. being overly aggressive
  • A lawyer’s responsibility to exemplify civility as a representative of clients, an officer of the court, and a public citizen having a special responsibility for the quality of justice 
  • The benefits of disagreeing agreeably