Civility Linkblogging: Judaism, Lawyers, and Centrist Strategies

Civility Linkblogging posts, as always, are part of an ongoing series meant to highlight trends and thoughtful discourse about civility around the web. We find recent articles from blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues from the United States and abroad. And we repost them here as a civility snapshot for interested readers.

This week’s links range geographically from Florida to Washington State, Colorodo to New Jersey. But in terms of topic, they focus on two recurring issues: strategies for maintaining and enforcing civility in the legal profession; and the possibility of finding civility in centrist politics at the municiple level, and in our political parties more broadly.

Do you have a link that you think would be right for this segment? Please do not hesitate to email it to us at editor@instituteforcivility.org. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

A Civility Crisis
Posted by Greg Anderson at The 16%, July 17, 2013

As a former county commissioner, I realize civility is often easier discussed than practiced. Strong emotions, personal values, and competing agendas can fuel uncivil fires. Ironically, even the strongest emotions, values, and agendas can be expressed within a civil framework. In other words, I can honor you even if I strongly disagree with you.

Intentionally practice civility. Good governance cannot exist without it.

National Policy Director Urges Civil Dialogue
Posted by Rober Wiener at New Jersey Jewish News, July 17, 2013

“Don’t make a table with just your friends,” he urged. “Make a table with all the people in the community you could possibly work with. Don’t limit. Because when the table is big, we have become the solution. If someone says, ‘We are not going to deal with J Street,’ then we are not going to be successful,” he said, referring to the left-leaning Israel advocacy group.

Gutow said the JCPA is working with the UJA-Federation of New York in a young leadership project so that “people age 20 to 40 learn how to talk to each other about Israel.”

Civility Counts: The Importance of Professionalism
Posted by Ryan S. Hansen at Denver Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, July 17, 2013

As young attorneys, we must recognize that there is no place within our profession to treat opposing counsel, opposing parties, court personnel, or judicial officers with any amount of disrespect, acrimoniousness, or belligerence. Attorney incivility tarnishes our profession, frustrates the timely resolution of legal matters, hampers clients’ interests, and erodes the already tenuous trust the public has in lawyers. There is no doubt that with concerted effort and forethought, we can all zealously represent our clients’ interests without engaging in caustic, uncivil behavior.

New Court Panels Will Police Lawyer Incivility
Posted by Rafael Olmeda at The Sun Sentinel, July 21, 2013

Attorneys across the state will soon be called on the carpet in a new way whenever their incivility toward each other crosses the professional line.

Courthouse administrators in Broward and Palm Beach counties are establishing local professionalism panels to resolve disputes between attorneys before they escalate into formal complaints to the Florida Bar. The panels were ordered in each of the state’s 20 judicial circuits by the Florida Supreme Court.

A New Take on Tension, Civility in Politics
Posted by Chris Thomas at The San Juan Islander, July 22, 2013

Parker J. Palmer called democracy “a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of political institutions,” and said tension is key to the process.

“It is a system that was designed to hold tensions, problems, questions – to keep them on the table so that we can keep returning to them for better answers. The question is, can we hold those tensions creatively, in a way that doesn’t create enemies, doesn’t demonize people who think differently from us.”