March 01, 2016

Civility: Do We Deserve to Be Called Professionals?

Elizabeth L. Yingling

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In 2010, the Florida Supreme Court sanctioned two lawyers for unprofessional emails. An ABA Journal article included some excerpts, including the following exchanges: “Better check the garbage man that comes by your trailer to make sure [your children] don’t look like him.” “[M]any of [my cases] were more important/significant than these little . . . claims that are handled by bottom feeding/scum sucking/loser lawyers like yourself.” Debra Cassens Weiss, Lawyers Sanctioned for E-Mail Insults, Including “Scum Sucking Loser” Comment, A.B.A. J., Jan. 3, 2011. And those were some of the nicer emails. Far from aberrational, these emails are just more colorful versions of what many of us find in our in-boxes from time to time as our adversaries’ zealous advocacy gets the better of them.

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