January 21, 2020 Feature

Defining Civility as an Attorney

By Gary L. Gassman and Elizabeth Olivera

The notion of civility is mentioned frequently in multiple different contexts when discussing trends within the legal profession. In law school, law students are taught to follow the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ethical obligations that come with taking the oath of professionalism as an attorney. Although often stated, the term civility is not defined specifically within any legal statutes or guidelines. This article will address what civility means within the legal profession and the fine line between zealous advocacy and acting without civility. Further, the article will discuss specific examples of incivility within the legal profession and how best to handle disagreements or aggressive communications with clients, opposing counsel, and outside parties.

Civility is an important concept within the legal profession that should be considered when acting as an advocate and counsel.

Civility is an important concept within the legal profession that should be considered when acting as an advocate and counsel.

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