Celeste F. Bremer, Fostering Civility Within the Legal Profession: Expanding the Inns of Court Model of Communal Dining.
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Judge Bremer writes that in addition to good manners and respect, civility also includes “concern for the public good.” Further, she explains that ethics and professionalism are analytically distinct from civility: Professionalism defines “what a lawyer ‘should’ do”; ethics are the “minimums by which a lawyer must act….” She suggests the civility requires lawyers to “go one step further.”
She summarizes examples where lawyers’ “rhetoric and adversarial excess” have been sanctioned in different jurisdictions. She also includes a review of civility codes of conduct and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility.
Judge Bremer proposes that expanding the Inns of Court communal-dining model can foster civility in the profession. She provides a summary of the Inns of Court model and offers examples of a law firm, local bar organizations, and other groups that organize potlucks and communal dinning. Finally, she cites research that demonstrates that communal dining experiences reduce stress by providing social support and that such social support and interaction enhances productivity, innovation, and “restores one’s self-concept or interpersonal relationships.”