The adventures (and non-adventures) of a marginally seasoned attorney.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The "Don't Be a Jerk" Rule

In what I think is a FANTASTIC move, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a per curiam order that added a pledge of civility to the Arkansas attorney's oath. The full order can be found here, and the new language added is this:

"To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications."

I call this clause the "Don't Be a Jerk" Rule, and I think it's important. Civility makes the practice of law and the legal system better, and I think bad manners are just a crutch that weak attorneys use because that's all they know to do.

Here's my beef with the rule, though.

The only people who take this oath are those just getting sworn in to practice law. In other words, if you're already a licensed attorney, you aren't going to be taking this oath. That means you haven't sworn to the "Don't Be a Jerk" Rule. And while I've had to hear countless old men lecture about "you young people" needing to be nice to other attorneys, it's rarely the young folks who aren't civil. More often than not, it's people who've been licensed for years who think it's okay to be uncivil.

This is what I think: Every single licensed attorney in the state of Arkansas should take this oath. If we're making the young 'uns pledge to this, I think that those of us who are already licensed should be held to the exact same standard. Do I think this will change those who have a habit of being uncivil? Absolutely not. But at least they will have promised to make a commitment to civility, and that's a start.

So even though I am not going to be re-sworn in, I am going to make this promise, right here and now: I'm not going to be a jerk. I applaud the Supreme Court for issuing this order and making the commitment to civility in the legal profession.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Pep Talk

Hellooooo everyone! We know that Valentine's Day is *just* around the corner because everyone is doing one of three things today:

  1. Whining because they haven't figured out what to get their significant other
  2. Whining because what they got their significant other cost a buttload of money
  3. Whining because they don't have to worry about the first two items on the list since they'll be spending their evening / the rest of their life alone
Now, I'm here today to let you know that everything is going to be juuuust fine, I promise. You don't have to whine, and I'm not just saying that because I'm tired of hearing you whine. No sir, each one of these is very fixable, and I'm here to help. Let's address each item in that list one-by-one.

1. You haven't figured out what to get your significant other - Oh shoot, I can't believe you're even worried about this one. You're thinking too much. I mean, who ever heard of someone dumping someone because "Gee, that Valentine just wasn't creative enough, I don't think I can be in a relationship with someone who got me a really nice piece of jewelry." (If she is actually saying that, let her go; she'll find a hipster soon enough.) Get something that you saw on a commercial, and you should be good to go.  Just try to avoid purchasing those chocolates with the fluffy Pepto-colored insides. That stuff is nasty.
2. You spent a buttload of money on your gift and now you're aggravated about it - Don't think of this purchase as a *gift*. Think of it as an *investment*. Because why do we make investments? We know we'll get something back and then some. Deep down, you know you made that investment because you wanted the "then some." So no need to whine about it. You'll be fine.
3. You're going to be alone on Valentine's Day - No no no, there is NO reason to whine about this one. You're not spending money. You're not having to go to some restaurant with heart-shaped balloons floating over the tables. Nope, none of that nonsense. This is the one night a year that it's socially acceptable to drink alone at home and not have people judge you for doing so. So DRINK UP in a respectable manner that won't give you alcohol poisoning, you fabulous person, you! This is YOUR night!

Now go rock Valentine's Day, everyone. And if you don't rock it, just remember - all chocolate will be half-off on the 15th. Chocolate makes everything better, right? Right.