What Ever Happened to Dignity, Courtesy and Integrity?
Is the legal profession still noble, learned and civil? In 1982, over 40 years ago when I participated in my California State Bar admission ceremony at the Memorial Auditorium in downtown Sacramento, I truly believed the hallmark of our legal profession was civility. I grew up watching the Perry Mason television series and saw that...Read Article
An Insider’s Perspective on Civility in Discovery - Is it an Oxymoron?
Discovery is often a tense process. The reasons are understandable: the information disclosed may determine which party wins at trial. With the stakes so high, it is easy to see why tempers flare and civility fades. Also, judges are rarely present to control the process as it unfolds. Must civility be a casualty? I was...Read Article
Civility Matters: A Guide to Practicing in the Northern California Federal Court
“Practice with the honesty, care, and decorum required for the fair and efficient administration of justice.” – Civil L.R. 11-4(a)(4) Those of us who practice in the federal court are well aware that we have to follow not only the California Rules of Professional Conduct, but also those rules which apply to the Northern District...Read Article
Civility in the Courtoom
The timbre of our time has become unfortunately aggressive and disrespectful. Language addressed to opposing counsel and courts has lurched off the path of discourse and into the ditch of abuse. This isn’t who we are. In re Mahoney (2021) 65 Cal App.5th 376, 381. In theory and practice, the legal profession is ideally a...Read Article
The Erosion of Civility
A Perspective from a “Seasoned” Attorney The State of Civility: Civility among lawyers, or the lack thereof, has been a much-discussed topic for many years. Courts have long lamented loss of civility. Several examples are cited in LaSalle v. Vogel (2019) 36 CA 5th 127: “Zealous advocacy does not equate to ‘attack dog’ or ‘scorched...Read Article
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Mediation Civility
Old sins cast long shadows. This idiom is true for Agatha Christie’s Monsieur Hercule Poirot and for counsel in mediation. Picture it…a conference room with parties, their counsel, and a mediator. Plaintiffs’ counsel is repeating, loudly, that the client’s damages far exceed the offer being made by the Defendants. Plaintiff is, of course, nodding. Plaintiff’s...Read Article