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Feb 16

Legal Civility

Posted on February 16, 2015 — by Michael Ely

Talk about an unlikely friendship; this article details the friendship between one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justice with one of the Supreme Court’s most liberal justice.  Antonin Scalia was nominated by a Republican President (Reagan) and is widely considered the Court’s most conservative justice.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated by a Democratic President (Clinton) and is generally considered to be the most liberal member of the Court.  However, as the story states, these two ideological opposites are close friends.  They vacation and socialize together quite often.  It is a good demonstration of civil (and even friendly) discourse. 

During the course of my career as a litigator (representing Plaintiffs and Defendants), I have always strived to be civil and even friendly with my opposing counsel.  I do that for two reasons; being friendly is more enjoyable than fighting and you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.  The latter statement is especially true.  I have found that resolving issues, settling cases and trying cases are much easier and have better results when you behave in a civil manner to your opposing counsel.  Further I do not believe that being civil to your opposing counsel sacrifices a client’s goals.  An attorney can be aggressive and simultaneously civil.

While it is entertaining to see actors on television and in the movies portray attorneys as obnoxious and nasty, it has been my experience that most real life attorneys are nothing like that and generally, that type of behavior is rarely productive for the client.

If you are in need of an aggressive, yet civil attorney, please contact us at 512-562-7000 or

Tagged with: Attorney Litigation Civil

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