Careful lawyers know that the rules in some jurisdictions require lawyers to act not only in compliance with the ethics rules, but also with civility and professionalism. Bad behavior — even if technically compliant with the rules of professional conduct — can result in sanctions and have other serious consequences for lawyers. But if that’s not enough of a reason to stay on your best behavior, here’s another: well-behaved lawyers are more likely to win.
A recent comprehensive study found a direct correlation between the outcome of adversarial proceedings and the participants’ attitude and conduct. It found that those who conducted themselves in a civil and professional manner, and positively interacted with their colleagues, were far more focused on their objectives and, as a result, 10% more likely than average to emerge victorious. In contrast, those who engaged in bad behavior — throwing tantrums, berating adversaries, etc. — were 35% less likely to succeed. You can watch a video describing the full results of the study here.
Ok, fine; the study involved players of the popular online game League of Legends, not lawyers. So what? LoL was created as an alternative way to settle disputes. Like lawyers, LoL gamers have to outsmart and outmaneuver their adversaries in a Court (ok, a Field) of Justice. And both have to deal with attacks from enemy minions. And if you think it’s hard trying to stay civil and professional when your adversary files a baseless motion, imagine how much tougher is to keep your cool while you’re trying to destroy all six of an enemy’s towers and three inhibitors so as to cause two super minions to spawn in each lane every time a new minion wave is created.
Questions? Feel free to contact a qualified ethics professional … or the nearest fourteen-year old.