A Changing Legal Profession Calls for Civility

Excerpts from the Article

By Dan Ballbach

Incivility is a direct threat to effective thinking. Over and over, I am struck by how we lawyers can sometimes be uncivil, disrespectful, and unable to engage effectively with our colleagues on tough internal topics. I had a “losing my civility” experience when a colleague said, “Dan, I understand that sometimes you need to use a two-by-four to get our attention, but does it need to have a nail in it?” When there is a “nail” in a communication from one partner to another, what happens to the dialogue? Analysis stalls and issues fester as we make the same points again and again, louder and louder, with clever stinging words. 

About the Author

Dan Ballbach practiced law for 24 years before embarking on a second career. Since 1996, he has served in executive and consultant roles with organizations facing major change or strategic uncertainty. In 2007 he earned a master’s degree in organizational change leadership from HEC Paris. He can be reached at danballbach@ascent-leadership.com.