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September 6, 2011

Civility in litigation

From: Ayer, John
Sender: Bankruptcy law discussion list
ReplyTo: Ayer, John
Subject: FW: Civility in litigation.
Sent: Sep 6, 2011 1:42 PM

Students of civility in litigation may want to consider a fascinating blog post by Keith Humphreys, up this morning at /Reality-Based Community/. It's not specifically about litigation, but it includes this snippet:

“One diagnostic of class is being comfortable, and making others comfortable, in any company.” Part of that virtue I think is being merciful towards, even unusually kind to, people who are vulnerable because they have made a mistake. But some people take the reverse approach of blasting and humiliating those who err, maybe out of self-importance (as if to imply that they never make errors themselves) and maybe because they have constant free-floating rage that they discharge at any remotely socially acceptable moment.


Also: a favorite boss of mine (sic) liked to say--"Samuel Johnson says the way to judge a man is by how he treats a person who can't do him any good." I'm not sure Johnson said it, though he might well have thought it.

How and to what extent this observation applies to lawyers and judges--is left as an exercise to the student.

Jack Ayer
Professor of Law Emeritus

September 6, 2011 | Permalink


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