Question of the Week

How do you deal with workplace bullies?

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In lawyer and author Heidi K. Brown’s latest ABA Journal Advocacy column, she writes that lawyers can be accomplished members of their field without being jerks.

“It is not mutually exclusive to be a successful, assertive and ambitious member of our profession yet also be nice,” Brown writes. “Contrast this with the bullying behavior that unfortunately happens in law offices, courtrooms, deposition rooms and boardrooms across the country.”

Law students, lawyers, court reporters and even judges endure “bullying from individuals who often are excused as ‘strong personalities,’ ‘eccentric rainmakers,’ ‘results-driven’ or ‘just under a lot of pressure.’”

Brown adds that how to effectively stand up to or defuse bullies in the legal field is rarely talked about.

This week, we’d like to ask you: How do you deal with workplace bullies? What tips can you offer for others in the legal profession?

Answer in the comments on our social media channels via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Check out last week’s question: What’s your favorite trial scene from a movie?

And view some of last week’s answers from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Featured answer:

Posted by Alan S. Carmer on LinkedIn:

“There are so many. Who doesn’t love Al Pacino’s ‘This whole trial is out of order’ from …And Justice For All? Or Demi Moore’s ‘I strenuously object’ from A Few Good Men? Marisa Tomei’s hostile witness, ‘You think I’m hostile now, wait until you see me tonight’ from [My Cousin Vinny] is classic. I love all that, but my favorites are not trial scenes; they are the scenes that show other realities of practice. A Civil Action is full of life lessons. For example, [John Travolta’s character] walks into the judge’s chamber and sees the defense attorney (Robert Duvall) already there. Travolta accuses them: ‘You’re talking about the case outside my presence,’ and judge (John Lithgow) responds indignantly: ‘No, we are having coffee outside your presence.’ And William H. Macy’s tirade upon learning John Travolta turned down an $8 million offer is priceless. Travolta: ‘This isn’t about money anymore.’ Macy getting up: ‘What’s it about? What’s it about, Jan?’ … Travolta: ‘If they’re willing to pay 8, Gordon, then it’s not enough, is it?’ Macy: ‘So, the only thing you’ll accept is what they’re not willing to give us. Listen to yourself!’ There is so much in A Civil Action it should be required viewing for Torts 1L.”

Do you have an idea for a future Question of the Week? If so, contact us.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Bullying from the Bench: A wave of high-profile bad behavior has put scrutiny on judges” “Bullying from the bench: How to cope in court”

ABA Journal: “No putting up with putdowns”

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