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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Monday, March 08, 2004
Posted 1:58 PM by Brian D.
Well, That Is Not Very Professional!

One of the things that I love about school is that it has so many opportunities to hear multiple points of view on issues. We have clubs and societies that represent many different interests and issues, and those clubs are constantly bringing in interesting speakers for us to listen too. If you cannot find some extracurricular activity here that represents your personal interests, then you simply are not trying! In other words, our school and those organizations attempt to show diversity of thought. I love the intellectual environment that is a result of such efforts. I can hear new things that I had never even thought about. I can discover new angles about interests that I care about. I can go see a speaker that I may initially disagree with, but listen to what that person has to say so I can compare and contrast to my own feelings. It is stimulating to hear two people of differing opinions discuss what they heard.

Yet I saw an email that appeared not to respect our natural diversity of thought and the ideals our school and organizations represent. After an announcement that a speaker was coming to our school, the sender received an interesting reply. Sorry, but the last thing I'm interested in hearing is [INSERT POLITICAL PARTY NAME] rhetoric. Upon seeing that my response became the title of this post.

Beyond the Black Letter Law, a purpose of this school is to train us to deal with the other side, whether that is a party in a lawsuit, an interest group at a public meeting, or something else. We need to deal with the diversity of the other side(s) in a professional manner as we, the lawyer/advocate, will be seen as leaders that are representative of our side (whatever that may be). Our actions are a reflection upon us, the institutions and parties we represent, and in an indirect way our own personal/professional philosophies. Remember, you will be the other side to someone else. Those other people desire and expect you to treat them with respect and professionalism. If we fail to perform in such a manner, the other side will certainly not listen to anything you say, nor will they behave/react in a manner that is conducive to your goals. There is a conjunction between good manners, professionalism, and our ability to effectively use our legal training. Failure to acknowledge the other side and their diversity of thought is a very human thing to do; however, it is not an ideal that we should aspire to. Our ideals should inspire us to be better than what we were before. If we can not be professional to each other, then perhaps we are in the wrong profession?

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