Cal. Litig. 2015, Volume 28, Number 1

Reclaiming Our Noble Profession: Civility in the Practice of Law

By Michael D. Stein

Michael D. Stein

Civility in modern life is on the decline. Dr. Pier Forni of Johns Hopkins University, author of The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, observes, "In today’s America, incivility is on prominent display: in the schools, where bullying is pervasive; in the workplace, where an increasing number are more stressed out by coworkers than their jobs; on the roads, where road rage maims and kills; in politics, where strident intolerance takes the place of earnest dialogue; and on the web, where many check their inhibitions at the digital door."

The problem is no stranger to the legal profession. Consider the following snippet from an e-mail war between opposing counsel (names changed to protect the foolish) which resulted in both participants being disciplined:

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