Lawyers behaving badly

There are some days it is harder to maintain my cool than others, the humidity in the GTA today makes it harder, but that it not what I’m talking about. Those days are when, generally, young counsel, stoop to name calling, taking positions not supportable by case law or the best yet: tell me the law doesn’t matter.

As I discussed with another senior lawyer last week, while we were both extra-aggressive in our youth, to the point of rudeness from time to time, no doubt, at least we knew what we didn’t know and didn’t rush in to misstate facts.

What to do with young lawyers who behave badly?

No sense in telling them they’re behaving badly: they won’t listen.

No sense in getting the Law Society involved: they have enough to do already.

My strategy these days is to lead by example: maintain professionalism in the face of immaturity and trust that with age, comes wisdom, and given five or ten years the lawyer behaving badly will fee badly for their behaviour.

In no way does this diminish my aggressiveness on a file, it is just tempered with more civility.

Another type of lawyer behaving badly our firm has encountered lately, is the lawyer who feels the need to talk down to our paralegal who handles our Small Claims matters. I appreciate there is a history between lawyers and paralegals that has not always been smooth, however, taking out your aggressions on a paralegal because they are not a lawyer is unacceptable.

Further, our paralegal has likely been practicing in Small Claims court a lot longer than the lawyers who attempt to force settlements on him: he knows his stuff and bullying him because he is not a lawyer just weakens his opinion of your position.


What is it good for?

Well, we’re all supposed to be professionals, so it’s good for making us act that way. Let’s start, shall we?

Inga B. Andriessen JD