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Essay by UIC Law Dean Featured in Chicago Law Bulletin

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In recent years, polarizing issues such as hyper-partisanship, COVID-19 policies and societal unrest borne from our nation’s reckoning with systemic racism have provided fertile ground for debate and disagreements. Divergence of opinions has oftentimes been articulated in ways that are discourteous, disrespectful and at times, deadly.

Bound by rules of professional conduct and sworn to pursue justice “while maintaining a professional, courteous and civil attitude toward all persons involved in the legal system,” the legal profession can serve as a societal role model demonstrating the ability to work towards resolution of issues in a respectful and professional manner. Yet, the profession has not been immune to the lack of civility in our society. Reverence and respect for the profession has been tarnished by reported incidences of lawyers’ abrasive, boorish and hostile behavior.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of lawyers strive daily to practice with courtesy, candor and cooperation, recognizing that practicing with professionalism and civility contributes to achieving better outcomes for clients and to a more successful, healthy career. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Read more on the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.