Joe Miller Law June 2018

NEWSLETTER

F ollow U s

06 | 18

www .J oe M iller I njury L aw . com | 888-694-7994

WHAT WE LOSE WHEN WE FORGET CIVILITY PRACTICING CIVIL LAW

you-know-what. It is possible to disagree and still be friends. Likewise, being civil doesn’t mean we’re obligated to engage with someone whose words or actions clash with our moral judgment. Walking away from a situation we don’t wish to be part of is another form of civility. I’ve found that the word “civility” is connected to the word “professionalism.” They both relate to behaving in a manner that holds yourself and others to a higher standard of respect and courtesy. At the office, I aim to be an example of why being professional is important. Whether we are working with clients, other attorneys, or each other in the office, it’s our responsibility to create a work environment that is courteous and respectful of everyone. Yes, our job is to zealously represent our clients, but that doesn’t mean an attorney has permission to act like a maniac. You won’t see a lawyer go into court and start verbally responsibility to create a work environment that is courteous and respectful of everyone.” “Whether we are working with clients, other attorneys, or each other in the office, it’s our

Does the way we speak to each other on the internet affect the way we interact in real life? I think it might. Think about it. When online, many people have a habit of saying whatever they want, no matter how unkind it is. And sometimes, the comments can get pretty horrible. It doesn’t matter if the person is hidden behind an anonymous username or if they’re using their own photo on Facebook. Some of the comments you see between strangers would get a kid’s mouth washed out with soap! There’s no civility online, and those habits seem to boil over into our real life. Right now, one of the largest issues we face in our society is that there is so much division between people. It’s all “us versus them,” or “You’re one of those people.” This toxic behavior boils down to a lack of civility. We’re all human beings, and when we put the slightest effort into our interactions, we can often find a middle ground. When it comes to politics, my wife and I aren’t on the same page at all, and that’s okay. We still love each other, because we keep our disagreements civil instead of letting them devolve into a screaming match. Civility is a word that sounds stuffy, but it really means something simple that I think we can all get behind: being polite and courteous to one another. Being polite or civil doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with everything everyone else says or does. It means that in the event we disagree with someone, we don’t respond by flying off the handle and calling them a big, fat

abusing the defense. (Well, maybe in New York City, you would.) At least, you won’t see a respected lawyer in Virginia or North Carolina doing something like that. There are ethical rules against that kind of conduct, and a judge would not hesitate to hold in contempt anyone who behaves in such a manner. At the office, we practice civil law, so no matter what we are dealing with in our personal lives or how high emotions may run, we need to practice civility. If we fail to maintain a professional atmosphere, it permeates the work we do in representing our clients. When that happens, we’re failing ourselves, each other, and our clients. Our clients, especially, are going through a lot. When they get hurt on the job, their lives are turned upside down. What they are going through is not pleasant. Besides our legal advice, one of the aims of all of us at the Work Injury Center is to create a safe space where our clients know that they will be treated with respect, civility, and professionalism. And perhaps, in some tiny measure, in trying to uphold those standards, we can contribute to the spread of a little more civility in our country. Because goodness knows we sure could use some.

If you belong to a union or other labor-related group and want to schedule my presentation at your group’s speaking arrangement, you can do so by calling 888-694-7994 . The presentation is free of charge, offers important information for taking appropriate action in Virginia workers’ compensation cases, and everyone in attendance gets a free copy of my book, “10 Traps and Lies that Can Ruin Your Virginia Workers Compensation Case.” Education is the best way to protect yourself from making a mistake. So call now, before it’s too late. –Joseph Miller

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