The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession

Harry J. McCarthy, The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession, WASHINGTON STATE BAR NEWS (Aug. 2011)
View the full article.


In “The Value of Civility in the Legal Profession,” Judge McCarthy argues that civility in the legal profession still has a way to go before it is fully integrated. Judge McCarthy states that uncivil behavior is rampant in our public sphere today, sending the message that “courtesy is a sign of weakness that does not get results.” He posits that civility is essential for professionalism and that professionalism is at the core of being a successful lawyer. “The very best attorneys, well-versed in the traditions of civility, can conduct an important cross-examination, even one of a hostile witness, and do so in such a productive and respectful manner that the goals of the cross are met while simultaneously maintaining a high standard of professionalism.” McCarthy concludes that despite the ways in which the law profession has changed, lawyers can and should be courteous, remain respectful, and act with integrity at all times in order to achieve success and to uphold the time-honored traditions of the legal profession.