April 01, 2018

Practicing Family Law with Civility: Education Is a Key Component of Civility

Elise F. Buie

Welcome to the the second installment of GPSolo eReport 's series “Practicing Family Law with Civility.” This month’s we examine how to educate your client about the benefits of civility.


Civility—polite, courteous, professional, respectful behavior—saves money and, more importantly, promotes the psychological health and well-being of the professionals, the parents, and, most importantly of all, the children involved in the family law system. Being civil has nothing to do with being a pushover, either as a lawyer or a parent embroiled in a high-conflict divorce. Being civil means using emotional intelligence and logic to make sound strategic decisions rather than asserting emotionally charged positions and extreme statements. Being civil means disagreeing professionally while never resorting to personal attacks and name-calling. Knowing this, why would any client hire an attorney with a “bulldog” reputation for aggression and incivility? It is often said that a judge can tell a lot about litigants by the attorney they hire. The following tips will help you represent your clients civilly, thereby allowing you to provide quality, effective representation with civility, class, and grace.

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