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Banshees Of The Legal Profession

I've been watching too much television lately-- no doubt driven by high anxiety about the mid-term election, here in the States. As a result, I've also seen far too many commercials, but to my surprise, I saw something that actually struck a chord with me: A trailer for a movie called, The Banshees of Inisherin.

I haven't seen the actual film, but it seems to be about being nice-- something a lot of people in the legal profession don't seem to care about. I know, because I was the recipient of a lot of not very nice comments and treatment, in my 40 years of toiling on the legal rock. And that often made my professional life downright miserable.

But you know what? Being nice to the women and men we work with (in the legal world it's often referred to as being "civil"), actually does matter-- a lot. Many law firms have a provision in their office manual colloquially referred to as (if not expressly labelled as) the "no asshole" rule, which prohibits supposed adults from mistreating or verbally abusing their work peers.

Of course, that rule is rarely enforced (if ever) because of a number of mitigating factors like the size of one's book of business, or the number of cases one may have won, or the general impression that one is always "right", but the willingness to look the other way is-- I believe-- incredibly short-sighted.

The life of most legal disputes is often very long-- months, if not years and as gratifying as it may be for some to play the short game, the long game is really where it's at. Patience. Civility. Respect. Those are qualities that serve us, in the long haul-- those are qualities that define our representation, and our advocacy. Those are the qualities that define our legacy.

Banshees may regard themselves as "winners", but the legal profession is far too often the "loser" for their self-indulgent behavior. One antidote would be the introduction of a workplace wellbeing initiative that includes mindfulness and meditation-- but we can only lead the proverbial horses to water: We can't make them drink.

Maybe, instead, we simply insist that lawyers begin treating each other, nicely !


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