Philly Judge Orders Taming of the Lawyers

That is the title of an article by Ashby Jones, on the Wall St. Journal Law Blog, pour encourager les autres.

And do as adversaries do in law, Strive mightily but eat and drink as friends.
— From William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

shakespeareWe wonder, after reading this admonition from the Bard, just how many lawyers these days manage to live up to it. Lawyers, let’s toss it over to you. Give a quick mental rundown of your opposing counsel and tally up the number of those people with whom you’d “eat and drink as friends.” We’re betting it’s few, if any.

Putting aside the applicability of the line to modern-day practice, it nevertheless inspired a federal judge in Philadelphia, Gene E.K. Pratter, to rule recently that, as part of a lesson in civility, two opposing lawyers must sit down and have a meal together. Click here for the story, from the Philly Legal Intelligencer.

I’m not sure a court order will solve the problem unless the offending attorney is willing.  But it does give an opportunity for consideration of those written or unwritten rules of social and professional discourse.