In an era too often marked by acts of incivility, the Civility Center for Law at Seattle University School of Law aims to elevate the way we treat one another in the legal profession and to inspire acts of courtesy, kindness, and compassion among members of the profession. Increased civility demonstrably improves outcomes for legal professionals and the people that they serve. Legal professionals profoundly influence society. Those who serve as judges and politicians create and administer our laws and shape societal values. Other legal professionals play vital roles in private industry. Even when they are not in leadership positions, lawyers are often the ones who negotiate and set policy for businesses and other organizations. Lawyers also work with individual clients to foster commerce and prevent conflict in transactional practices, resolve conflict in litigation, or counsel those in legal distress. Lawyers often serve as leaders and role models in their communities, either in their capacity as lawyers or simply as concerned citizens. Increased civility demonstrably improves outcomes for legal professionals and the people that they serve. And because legal professionals profoundly influence society, even outside their formal work, their behavior often sets the tenor of corporate, political, and social interactions. When they behave uncivilly, they undermine our justice system in a variety of ways, most notably by exacerbating conflict, thereby increasing costs and diminishing public confidence in our justice system. However, when they behave with civility, they demonstrably improve outcomes for the people that they serve and for themselves, and they serve as exemplars of appropriate behavior in our society. View information about our history »
Civility is more than politeness, compassion, and integrity, though it certainly includes these qualities. Civility is a set of attitudes, behaviors, and skills that call upon us to respect others, to remain open-minded, and to engage in honest and constructive discourse. Civility benefits businesses by creating satisfied clients and reducing costs. It benefits individuals by reducing stress and promoting healthy relationships. And civility promotes a just and healthy society by de-escalating conflict and inspiring service as volunteers. We behave civilly by actively listening to others, by understanding our own biases and assumptions, and by treating others as we would like to be treated. In order to understand our inherent biases, we need to engage in difficult but necessary conversations about race, gender, otherness, and values. Civility calls upon us to advocate effectively without losing our humanity and to challenge ourselves to make a contribution to our world.
Our initiatives and programs strive to elevate individuals’ levels of consciousness, creativity, and community – elements essential to the pursuit of civility.
- Consciousness increases our emotional intelligence, thereby helping us to understand the ways our own emotions may cause us to behave uncivilly, enabling us to better self-regulate our emotions, and equipping us to realize how our actions impact others.
- Creativity provides an outlet for self-discovery and reflection, an opportunity to see different perspectives, and flexibility in finding solutions to problems and resolutions to conflicts.
- Community enables us to avoid isolation and connect with our fellow human beings, encourages us to recognize that the benefits we enjoy should be balanced by service to others, and enhances our ability to make a difference by joining forces with our neighbors.
Continuing Legal and Judicial Education Seminar in Italy
The Civility Center for the Law offers a retreat-like 7-day CLE/CJE seminar in Tuscany, Italy, every spring. View past CLE/CJE seminars »
Custom Programs for the Profession
The Civility Center for the Law offers a wide range of custom CLE/CJE programming options for law firms, court staff, and other organizations of legal professionals. Our consultants collaborate with other professional development organization and speak at their conferences and programs. In addition, we work with organizations to develop a custom program or training and will provide all necessary documentation for CLE/CJE accreditation. View past programs »
Custom Programs for Law Schools
The Civility Center for the Law offers custom programming for law schools. Our consultants offer services for law schools designed to increase civility and tailored for students, staff, faculty, and alumni.