I was thinking about kindness as I read over civility rules for lawyers. Why in the world do we need “civility rules” on top of all the other rules that we who have or are practicing law have dealt with during our career? Shouldn’t being civil, polite and showing respect be taught in Kindergarten, not forced on us by the Bar Associations?
Yet, each of us know that there are lawyers out there that get so involved in gaining control or winning (as they see it) that vigorously working for a client becomes a personal vendetta of rudeness and/or just outright hostility. There is a great difference between being assertive and begin obnoxious.
Then there is going one step further and actually fostering Kindness in the legal world. What would this look like. I purpose it might look like this:
- Courteously giving other counsel any reasonable accommodation possible.
- Not taking phone calls while talking to your client.
- Giving your client helpful directions to any appearance.
- Always returning phone calls within 24 hours.
- Allowing the client to talk about their feelings during representation.
- Always treating the Court with respect.
- Never, Ever shout at your staff. Always taking a staff member aside if you need to criticize, Never in front of others.
- Taking time to think about a confrontation with a client, other party or staff member before you engage. Think about how to allow that person to retain their dignity while you do the confronting.
- Be clear about what you need and want. Listen to others when they tell you their needs and wants.
- Take your staff members to lunch, one and one. Be sure you take all of them at one time or another.
- Don’t gossip.
- and on and on……
Small acts of kindness help us through our days:
Picking up something that was dropped for someone. Buying someone coffee or wine when its not expected. Cleaning up a mess when someone spills something. Letting that other car have the parking space….
MAKE THE PROMISE TODAY TO DO ONE KIND THING EACH DAY FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK. THERE CAN NEVER BEEN TOO MUCH KINDNESS IN THE WORLD.
CHECK ON YOUR KINDNESS IN RELATIONSHIP TO YOUR WORK. DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IT? IF NOT, START.