We Can Be Smart, Ambitious, and Accomplished Members of the Legal Profession without Being Jerks

Heidi K. Brown
Let’s empower ourselves to stand tall and convey: “If you even dream of [bullying] me, you’d better wake up and apologize.”

Let’s empower ourselves to stand tall and convey: “If you even dream of [bullying] me, you’d better wake up and apologize.”

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Join Heidi K. Brown for an On-Demand CLE entitled "Defusing Bullies with Professor Brown." The webinar is available in the ABA CLE Marketplace.

Many individuals in our profession—attorneys, judges, clients—have high expectations of themselves, others, and the profession. They are intelligent and hardworking, yet they also are kind, considerate, and respectful in interpersonal interactions. Engaging in intellectual debates with these folks—tough negotiations, oral arguments, disagreements over legal strategy—feels fulfilling, motivating even.

It is not mutually exclusive to be a successful, assertive, and ambitious member of our profession yet also be nice. Contrast this with the bullying behavior that unfortunately happens in law offices, courtrooms, deposition rooms, and boardrooms across the country. Law students, lawyers, legal assistants, support staff, court reporters, and even judges endure bullying from individuals who often are excused as “strong personalities,” “eccentric rainmakers,” “results-driven” or “just under a lot of pressure.”

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