A musical night out in New York recently had a higher aim than merely entertaining – it aimed to instil some manners into boorishly-behaved lawyers.
The show, A Civility Sedar, was put together by the New York Inn of Court, a legal group dedicated to promoting collegiality and ethical behaviour. A Wall Street Journal report revealed that the spectacle featured an esteemed judge singing the following ditty to the tune of If I Were A Rich Man:
“If lawyers were more civil
Daidle deedle daidle daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
They’d treat their breth-er-en with more respect
Wouldn’t always yell, ‘object’.”
The ditty was a hit with the lawyers present but it made a serious point about the tide of rudeness many feel has engulfed the profession in the US, with some people even suggesting lawyers should have civility lessons.
The mud-slinging between opposing counsellors has gotten so bad Stateside that the American Board of Trial Advocates’ committee on professionalism, ethics and civility has developed a program on how to be civil to colleagues, given presentations on the topic at dozens of law firms and is pushing legal educators to make ‘civility’ part of the law school curriculum, according to the WSJ.
So, some of the brightest brains in the country now need lessons on how to have manners? Oh this modern world!
Having said that, Folklaw has dealt with some less-than-pleasant lawyers in its time, so maybe a trip back to the common manners classroom would do some good for some lawyers here too...