14 September 2010

Remembering Civility In Law and In Life

By Lexington Wolff, Chief Staff Writer
          Unfortunately for society, it seems too many of us have forgotten our manners.  I write about this topic today because of what happened during an interactive panel discussion that I recently attended.  This event consisted of a discussion followed by a question and answer session.  During the session, audience members were allowed to ask questions of the panel.  Although the session began as a civilized debate, the audience members’ arguments quickly descended into an exchange of personal insults.

          As I was leaving the event, I was struck by how the boorish behavior of the audience members overshadowed the validity of their arguments.  It was a blatant example of how a lack of civility can devalue even the most well-intentioned argument.

           As a law student about to enter into a career of advocacy, this experience has taught me an invaluable lesson on the importance of civility.  Since the legal profession is adversarial in nature, it is especially important for lawyers to continuously strive to maintain an unwavering commitment to professionalism.   We must do this not simply because the code of professional conduct demands it, but also because we, as human beings, demand it from ourselves.  This commitment must extend beyond the courtroom and into our everyday lives.   By constantly reminding ourselves of the fine line that divides unruly arguments from professional advocacy, we will be able to fulfill our commitment to society as civilized lawyers, and our obligation to our clients as dedicated advocates.

Lexington Wolff is the Chief Staff Writer of Juris.  She is also a member of the Federalist Society and the Women's Law Association.  Lexington is a 2008 graduate of Duquesne University with a B.A. in
Journalism and a Minor in Political Science.  She will graduate from Duquesne Law School in June of 2011.  Lexington can be reached at