November 27, 2017 Asked and Answered

Esquire Etiquette: Minding your manners at work

By Stephanie Francis Ward

True etiquette is not about stuffy rules—it's about behaving in a way that makes people feel comfortable. But as social norms change, and some people have a hard time separating personal from professional behavior. Before your firm's holiday party, it may be time to check in on what is—and is not—appropriate.

In this episode of Asked and Answered, the ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward speaks with Dr. Sharon Meit Abrahams about common social faux pas lawyers make and how best to avoid them.

For example: Are you glued to your cellphone? Unless you’re waiting for a verdict or a loved one is very close to having a baby, cellphones should never be out in meetings or at meals, Abrahams says. But if either situation applies to you, explain that to the people you are with, and ask if they’d mind you putting your phone on the table.

Abrahams also has advice for getting through work-related social functions with grace, including ways to make guests feel comfortable if you’re hosting a meal at a restaurant; making sure that you don’t overstay your welcome at holiday parties; and tasteful gifts to give clients and colleagues.

In This Podcast:

Stephanie Francis Ward
Dr. Sharon Meit Abrahams is a legal talent development expert. She currently serves as director of professional development/diversity and inclusion for the international law firm Foley & Lardner. Abrahams is also the author of 100+ Pointers on Business Development, 100+ Pointers for the New Partner and 100+ Pointers for New Lawyers on Adjusting to Your Job, which are published by the American Bar Association.