Practically Speaking – Article by Sarah Wetmore Butler in The Defense Line, Volume 46
Recent Article by Sarah Wetmore Butler in SCDTAA’s The Defense Line, Volume 46.
Lawyers need to treat one another better, and each one of us must serve as the example of any change that we want to see. Despite the significant focus in recent years on civility in our practice, there are still some serious offenders. Don’t get me wrong, most attorneys that I have the great fortune to work with are considerate, gracious and professional. It’s the outliers that that leave me troubled.
With that introduction to the topic, let me take a moment to introduce the newest addition to The DefenseLine: Practically Speaking. The SCDTAA is excited about the possibilities that this column offers. It’s a space to talk about what’s on our minds. It’s a place to share ideas openly. We hope readers will feel encouraged to send in their candid advice and important thoughts.
I like to think that I am generally optimistic. I try to see the bright side and the good in everyone. However, I have to admit that sometimes this job can really get to me. The stress and the work load can be overwhelming. The hours spent working and the responsibilities that we have can be draining. Most days, I can handle it, but sometimes it weighs on me and what really pulls me down are lawyers who are ill-tempered, disagreeable or even downright nasty. I’m talking about the lawyers who make it their mission to make everything difficult. I’m not talking about the lawyer who is a fair adversary or an advocate for their client. I respect that. In fact, if you look up ‘advocate’ in the thesaurus, lawyer is a listed synonym. Other synonyms are proponent, champion, spokesperson and upholder. That’s our profession. I am bringing to light the mean, dishonorable or petty conduct that I occasionally, and very unfortunately, run across. We have all met him or her: The lawyer that is just difficult for difficulty’s sake. They are exhausting.
You know what, and who, I am talking about. It’s like a hobby to these few unprincipled lawyers out there. The lawyer who won’t talk to you about anything. The lawyer who sends snarky emails. The lawyer who sends threatening letters. The lawyer that takes preposterous positions. Attorneys who storm out of depositions, who name call, who make a fight out of everything. Where do these conceited, obnoxious professionals spring from? Where did they learn or perceive that being uncooperative and ugly is somehow part of being an attorney?…….